The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on Wednesday attended a “Justice Watch” launched by pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) as part of a series of protests that will continue until Nov. 4, the anniversary of the detention of HDP Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş along with eight other party deputies.
CHP provincial chairman of İstanbul Cemal Canpolat, who joined the HDP members in Yoğurtçu park of Kadıköy district, said: “We have seen on our way once more how much the country needs justice and freedom. The demand for justice has become the common demand of our citizens. This ground is our common denominator.”
Canpolat voiced his support for the protests initiated by HDP and said they would work on increasing their solidarity to find a solution for injustices through peace and democracy.
CHP İstanbul deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu referred to the “March of Justice” which was launched by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on June 15 from Ankara to İstanbul to protest the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu and said the same solidarity was needed for HDP’s “Justice Watch.”
CHP’s march ended with mass rally in İstanbul on July 9. Some HDP deputies joined Kılıçdaroğlu’s “March of Justice” in a show of support for the protest.
Expressing her approval of the call for solidarity from CHP members, HDP deputy Filiz Kerestecioğlu said opposition, which is asking for justice, peace and democracy should not leave the hands of one another.
The HDP is expected to hold its group meetings in different provinces, where watches will be staged for a week, rather than in the Turkish Parliament to draw attention to the situation of the imprisoned deputies.
Demirtaş, along with HDP Co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ and seven other HDP politicians, were detained on Nov. 4, 2016 and ultimately arrested on charges of terrorism.
There are currently 11 HDP deputies behind bars in Turkey after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government stepped up a crackdown on Kurdish politicians last fall. Trustees have been appointed to dozens of municipalities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast, while hundreds of local Kurdish politicians have been arrested on terror charges.
The developments have attracted widespread criticism from the region and Western countries.