MAY (Mayıs, mah-YUHSS)
May usually brings perfect weather throughout Turkey, with long sunny days and not much rain.
It also brings tourists: May is the businest month for individual tourists who like to travel on their own or in small-group tours and stay in boutique hotels, so prices are highest and advance reservations are essential.
The Istanbul Tulip Festival may still be affording wonderful splashes of floral color throughout the metropolis.
May Day (May 1st)
May 1st is traditionally the unofficial Labor/Workers’ Day in Turkey. Istanbul‘s Taksim Square is a major traditional locus of commemorations, and in recent years has been the scene of confrontations between various groups and police—sometimes violent. The authorities routinely limit access to the Taksim area, and even most of Beyoğlu, by street and public transport on May 1st, making access to hotels in the Taksim area difficult—plan ahead!
Atatürk Remembrance and Youth & Sports Day(Atatürk’ü Anma ve Gençlik Spor Bayramı, May 19) is a national holiday, commemorating Atatürk‘s birthday(1881) and his arrival in Samsun in 1919 to begin the War of Independence that resulted in the foundation of the Turkish Republic.
—by Tom Brosnahan