Bloody Sunday (1969)
Bloody Sunday (Turkish: Kanlı Pazar) is the name given to a counter-revolutionary response to a leftist protest that occurred on February 16, 1969, in Istanbul's Beyazıt Square, Turkey. A coup d'état in 1960 had allowed a group of Turkish military officers to take control of the country. Under this established government, labor tensions grew and anti-American sentiment rose. Elements of the Turkish left and labour movement were protesting against perceived American Imperialism.
Protests increased after the United States Sixth Fleet arrived in Turkey. Unrest peaked on February 16, 1969, when 30,000 people marched on Taksim Square. The demonstration was broken up by the police, but several thousand continued the march towards Taksim. It was at this point that a counter-revolutionary force attacked a large group of these protesters with knives and sticks. During this confrontation, two protesters, Ali Turgut and Duran Erdogan, were killed. Feroz Ahmad, a prominent Egyptian Turkey expert, refers to Bloody Sunday as "an example of organized, fascist violence", alluding to right wing elements responsible for most of the violence.
Left-right political tensions ran high for most of the 1960s and 1970s. Similar attacks on labor groups by right wing elements in the government and Turkish politics occurred in 1971 and 1977. The 1977 massacre is referred to as Turkey's "second Bloody Sunday".
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