State troopers reinforced riot police in Istanbul today and Gov. Namik Senturk ordered the bodies of people killed in yesterday's May Day bloodbath impounded in the city morgue until tempers cool.
Weeping relatives of people killed in the worst incident in modern-day Turkish history were turned away by steel-helmeted state troopers in armord cars around the morgue, in the shadow of Topkaki Palace.
As the ministers of justice and interior began a probe of the violence, city officials refused to say when the bodies would be handed over. They said large funerals for victims would be barred to avoid new violence.
Police staged a demonstration outside police headquarters demanding greater powers to quell political disturbances, and the Police Institute issued a statement condemning the "Chinese-Soviet war being fought on Turkish soil."
Thirty-seven people, including a policeman, died yesterday as rival extreme leftist factions fought with guns and wooden clubs at a massive May Day rally in Istanbul's main Taksim Square.
More than 60 people were wounded and 399 arrested in the May Day violence, which brought to more than 200 the number killed so far in two years of mounting leftist-rightist political violence in Turkey which led to the general elections being moved forward four months.
It was still not clear who fired the first shot. Eyewitnesses said it was triggered by bullets fired by unknown gunmen at a group of Maoist marchers.
Riot police used armored cars, machine pistols and tear gas to disperse the crowd of about 100,000.
The riot, five days before the official start of campaigning for the June 5 general elections, raised fears of a bloody pre-election period.
Turkish Prime Minister Suleyman Demiral said after an emergency meeting of his favor-party conservative cabinet today that despite the disturbances, martial law would not be imposed and the elections would go ahead as scheduled.