Families of Turkey’s Gezi victims, ‘Peace Mothers’ join CHP’s March for Justice

On the 13th day of a “March of Justice” launched by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in protest of the arrest of a party deputy, families of some individuals who were killed during 2013’s Gezi Park protests participated in the march.

Families of Gezi victims Ali İsmail Korkmaz, Berkin Elvan and Ethem Sarısülük joined the march on Tuesday. Gezi Park protests sparked in the summer of 2013 in protest of government plans to demolish Gezi Park in İstanbul’s Taksim neighborhood. The protests turned into anti-government demonstrations all across Turkey due to police’s use of violence against the protestors. At least, 11 people were killed due to police violence during the protests.

Also, İstanbul Peace Mothers Assembly members joined the March for Justice on the 12th day with their white scarves on Monday. The mothers have been demanding justice for years and now they voiced their demand for justice as part of the march.

Perihan Akbulut from the Peace Mothers had to migrate to İstanbul after her village, Çelik village in Mardin’s Derik district, was burned in 1993. Akbulut said she is looking for peace, and that they have been demanding justice for years.

“We stand with everyone who demands true justice,” said Akbulut and added that there can not be peace without justice. Akbulut said: “The prisons are filled with our children because there is no justice. The cemeteries are filled with the bodies of our children. Our will in the parliament has been arrested. This country will be saved if justice is achieved.”

Peace Mother Revşan Dündar had to migrate to Istanbul when her village in Bitlis’ Hizan district was burned in 1994. She said they joined the march because they are “seeking justice”, but that the march would remain lacking if it stayed the way it is. Dünar stated that it wasn’t just Enis Berberoğlu that was imprisoned, and pointed out the arrest of HDP deputies. Dündar stressed that the March for Justice should not end in the Maltepe Prison, but continue until Silivri and Edirne prisons.

Cumhuriyet daily’s columnist Ali Sirmen and a number of lawyers from the bar association of the northwestern province of Düzce, dressed in their legal robes, have also accompanied the CHP leader. Kılıçdaroğlu was also seen celebrating Eid-al-Fitr with locals by the side of the road waiting for the cortege’s arrival and supporting the party chairman. In response to a group who was gathered to protest his march, the CHP head was simply seen applauding them.

Meanwhile, the CHP has prepared a list of 12 guidelines warning participants in the party’s “March for Justice” from Ankara to Istanbul against any “provocations,” CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu said on Tuesday. “We are walking for them. We are walking for justice. We are walking together. Nobody should be disturbed,” he told reporters at a highway stop in the northwestern province of Bolu on the 13th day of the march.

“Yesterday we prepared a list of 12 guidelines against provocations. We will give it to everyone participating. We said: ‘Do not attack or use harsh language against those who protest us for any reason. Just applaud them, whatever they say.’ We should show a democratic attitude and show our belief in justice. We should show how much we value justice and how much we value people,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.

CHP Deputy Group Chair Özgür Özel also touched on the risk of “provocation” just before the march started, saying the correct response would be “applause.”  “Whatever provocation comes from outside, whether it be incitement or swearing, the only answer to be given is applauding with the common slogan: ‘Rights, law, justice,’” Özel said.

According to a decision taken by the CHP, 25 party deputies have taken on the task of steering and directing participants of the march and maintaining security, positioning themselves at intervals of 50 meters from one another.

Kılıçdaroğlu initiated the march in Ankara on June 16 in protest of the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison last week for leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria.

The march will last for 25 days and end at Maltepe Prison, where Berberoğlu is jailed. A total of 220 kilometers have been covered during the march so far. (SCF with turkishminute.com) June 27, 2017

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