As a “March for Justice” launched by Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on June 15 in Ankara reached İstanbul on Sunday, its 25th day, tens of thousands gathered in the Maltepe district and held a “Justice Rally” to mark the completion of the march.
Kılıçdaroğlu, who addressed march supporters during a “Justice Rally”, said: “We have ended our march, which we started on the morning of June 15 in Ankara’s Güven Park, in Maltepe. Nobody should think this march is an ending; it’s a first step. July 9 is a new day, July 9 is a new birth.”
Kılıçdaroğlu and march supporters crossed the Istanbul provincial border on Friday. Kılıçdaroğlu, who walked two kilometers with CHP deputies and a group of participants but continued on alone for the final kilometer met the crowd at the Maltepe rally area.
Calling on supporters of the March for Justice not to carry any party flags, Kılıçdaroğlu said, “No one should forget, they thought we would create an uproar and break things down. We made the most peaceful march of the world. Even the nose of one fellow citizen did not bleed. Thanks to 80 million craving justice.”
Participation in the march has been on the rise, especially since the group reached İstanbul. Some 215,000 people participated in the first part of the walk on Saturday.
İstanbul Governor Vasip Şahin said on Sunday that 15,000 police officers would be on duty for the rally.
The March for Justice from Ankara to İstanbul was initiated 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. Berberoğlu has been held in Maltepe Prison since June 14.
The government has been targeting the march on the grounds that it has been disrupting traffic. Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also recently accused the marchers of standing by terrorist organizations.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Friday claimed that the march had reached its objective and called on the CHP to end it. (SCF with turkishminute.com) July 9, 2017