CHP leader calls for acts of civil disobedience to return justice to Turkey

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said there is need for civil disobedience in addition to the “March for Justice” launched by his party last week, the Diken news website reported on Tuesday.

Kılıçdaroğlu initiated the march in Ankara in protest of the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria.

Kılıçdaroğlu, who spoke to Deutsche Welle on the fifth day of the “March for Justice”, said: “We will walk to İstanbul. We still have 350 kilometers to go. The main purpose of this march is to bring justice back to Turkey and to make the longing for justice heard not only in Turkey but all around the world. We can express this yearning for justice not only with a march but with many other acts of civil disobedience. We have to.”

The CHP leader said there is a climate of fear in the society and that he would prefer to walk alone and not put others at risk, but said he has seen so much support from women and young men everywherehe walked.

Responding to remarks by Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said it was thanks to the government that the CHP was even able to carry out a March for Justice, Kılıçdaroğlu said his party is exercising a right given by law and the fact that this is seen as a favor shows that Erdoğan is a dictator.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, which claimed the lives of more than 240 people and injured a thousand others. Immediately after the coup attempt, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) declared a state of emergency on June 20, which is still in effect. Kılıçdaroğlu referred to the declaration of the state of emergency as another coup because the government has jailed thousands of people and purged thousands of others from state posts on coup charges.

In the meantime, the arrest of Berberoğlu, who would normally enjoy parliamentary immunity, was possible because the CHP and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had lent support to a proposal submitted by the ruling AKP on removing deputies’ immunity from prosecution last year.

CHP İzmir deputy Musa Çam has said it was a historic mistake for his party to support the removal of parliamentary immunity of deputies who face investigation, the Diken news website reported on Tuesday.

Çam, who spoke on the sixth day of a “March for Justice” launched by his party last week, said: “My immunity has been removed and now I am being prosecuted. Saying ‘It is against the Constitution but we will say yes [for the removal of immunity]’ was wrong. That is why our friends who voted in favor are historically responsible. Many deputies have been prosecuted and arrested due to the removal of their immunity.”

In the wake of the arrest of Berberoğlu, Çam said: “We have to accept this and engage in some self-criticism. This march can also cover a lot of self-criticism.”

The immunity of all deputies who face probes was lifted in May 2016. Currently, 11 pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies are in jail on charges of terrorist links. (SCF with June 20, 2017

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