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Turkish president lauds workers' role

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Turkey’s president on Wednesday marked May Day -- International Workers' Day -- for laborers throughout Turkey. reports citing Anadolu Agency.

"I celebrate the May 1 Labor and Solidarity Day of all our workers and laborers whose sweat plays an important role in the growth and development of our country," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted early in the day.

Later, speaking at a May Day event, Erdogan expressed his condolences to the families of five seasonal workers who lost their lives in a traffic accident today in the eastern province of Sanliurfa.

Speaking at the event in the presidential complex in the capital Ankara, he went on to say that Turkey is a "unique" country by all measures and added: "The potential of Turkey is so great that it is sufficient for 182 million, let alone 82 million [Turkey's current population]."

Erdogan also criticized governments from the years before 2002, when his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party came to power, accusing them of exercising discrimination among labor unions.

"Victimizing people who had no agenda other than putting dinner on the table for political or ideological reasons and depriving them of their jobs is a very heavy burden to bear," he said.

May Day or International Workers' Day first emerged as an event commemorating the labor of workers worldwide on May 1, 1886, when a group of workers in the U.S. held a massive strike for an eight-hour workday.

Turkey’s first official May Day celebrations were held in 1923.

2019.05.02 / 09:00
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