Security forces in Turkey banned New Year’s Eve celebrations on Istanbul’s iconic Taksim Square. They justify this by citing security concerns, the official Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday.
Authorities noted the 2016 attack by a member of the Islamic State on January 1 at the Reina disco, which left 39 dead.
The accused attacker, who is on trial, was filmed in the Taksim area before choosing to attack party-goers further north in the city. Ismail Kilic, police chief of Beygolu District, said measures would be put in place on the streets leading to Taksim to ensure a time of peace.
Demonstrations already banned
Taksim was the scene of anti-government demonstrations in 2013. Since then, the government has banned workers’ demonstrations on May 1 in the square, which is of symbolic importance for the leftist movements in Turkey. Indeed, the country is almost entirely Muslim, but the 1st of January is a holiday.
Some elements of the western holiday season, such as Christmas trees and ornaments, crept into public displays during this time of year. Islamists have rejected this development. Turkey has seen a wave of attacks from ISIS and extremist Kurdish nationalists in 2015 and 2016. The Reina shootout was the last major attack.