Chair of Turkey’s main opposition party CHP (Republican People’s Party), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, started a Justice March on Thursday (June 15) morning in Ankara’s Güvenpark in reaction to a court decision issued on Wednesday (June 14) where CHP MP Enis Berberoğlu – who is also a journalist – was sentenced to 25 years jail time over accusations of ‘political and military espionage’ in the controversial MİT (National Intellegince Organizaiton) trucks case.
In his speech delivered before starting the march at Güvenpark, Kılıçdaroğlu referred to the jailed journalists and parliamentarians in Turkey and said there is currently a ‘dictatorship’ in Turkey.
‘We want peace in our country’, said Kılıçdaroğlu and added: “Enough! Justice will be brought to this country for sure! I said it before that if there is a need to pay a price, we are going to pay that price. We have to fight together for the future of this country. This march is not related to any particular political party. There cannot be peace in a country where prisons are overloaded. There can’t be peace in a country where there is no justice... We must do what’s necessary for this sacred notion. We respect everyone’s political views but we must ensure independence of judiciary. The whole world should hear us: we are faced with a dictatorship in Turkey, in our own homeland! And, we do not want a dictatorship; we don’t want coup plotters. We do not want those who carried out the July 20 coup. We want peace: the whole world should hear this. We want justice for everyone: for workers, for teachers, for public employees.”
Kılıçdaroğlu announced that he will be walking from Ankara to İstanbul’s Maltepe prison, where MP Berberoğlu is place in detention.
According to reports, he will be walking 18 km per day and his march will last for about a month. ‘I will have in my hand only a banner that says justice’, Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Governor’s office of Ankara released a statement indicating that a ‘reasonable’ number of participants will be allowed to attend the march and the meetings related to the march. The statement also said that necessary security measures will be taken and that security checks will be conducted at the meeting site to ensure safety. ‘Holding meetings at dwellings during the march will not be allowed’, the statement indicated.
While Turkey’s Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP), United June (Haziran) Movement, Halkevleri, and a number of other civil society groups announced participation in the Justice March, crowds also gathered in Istanbul, Trabzon, Manisa, Antalya, and Samsun to show support.
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