Martial law was proclaimed tonight (Tuesday) in Istanbul and the neighbouring province of Kocaeli. The?
Martial law was proclaimed tonight (Tuesday) in Istanbul and the neighbouring province of Kocaeli. The announcement followed a day of violent demonstrations by workers who clashed with troops and riot police over proposed changes in trade union law. At least three people were known to have died.
A Government declaration broadcast by the Turkish Radio network said the martial law would last for a month, that full administrative powers would be vested in a military commander and that all legal matters would be handled by courts-martial.
During the day, thousands of demonstrators rampaged through the city, defying tanks and fighting pitched battles with riot police in the streets.
The amendments to the labour laws--aimed at eliminating a number of splinter organisations in the union field--are due to be presented to Parliament later this week.
The organisers of the demonstration, the left-wing radical reformist trade union confederation (DISK), claims the proposed amendments are unconstitutional and has accused the Government of trying to destroy the democratic principles on which the Labour movement was founded. DISK claims to have 30,000 registered members.
Buildings and vehicles were set on fire during the worst of the rioting and several hundred people were injured.
Afterwards, Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel had an audience with President Cevdet Sunay. He then called a full cabinet meeting at which the decision to impose martial law was taken.