Tens of thousands of demonstrators rallied to commemorate May Day in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, a place of special symbolic importance after a massacre that took place in the 1970s.
At least 34 people died on 1st May 1977 amid scenes of panic after shots were fired into the crowd. Extreme right activists were suspected of carrying out the attack with official backing.
Demonstrations were banned in the square until last year.
Rallies were held in other cities throughout Turkey including the capital Ankara.
There the event began calmly but minor clashes were reported involving members of a pro-Kurdish party and union members.
Security forces intervened and the rally ended earlier than planned.
Many who had come to protest against the government’s policies will be hoping their voices were still heard.
The day also saw a large rally in the main Kurkish city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey, scene of recent clashes after Kurdish politicians were barred from contesting a national election.