Turkish artists to join CHP’s ‘March for Justice’ on July 4

Turkish actor Mert Fırat announced on Friday that a group of artists will take part in a march launched by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in Ankara on June 15 to demand justice.

Kılıçdaroğlu launched the “March for Justice” in protest of the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu. The march is expected to last for 25 days and end at Maltepe Prison in İstanbul where Berberoğlu is jailed. Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in prison on June 14 for leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria.

Fırat shared a declaration from his Twitter account that said: “In order to give support to the March of Justice, which gets closer to İstanbul step by step and make the artists’ demand for justice be heard, we are joining in the march on July 4.”

“We have experienced this many times and know that resistance against injustice, a strong and loud voice against oppression, always comes from the streets. We need to stand against pressure and unlawfulness by coming side-by-side and walking in great numbers,” says the declaration.

The declaration also calls on all professional, semi-professional and amateur artists as well as their readers and audience to participate in the march and to register by July 2.

A pro-gov’t Star daily columnist known for his staunch support for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Thursday that the March for Justice will be stopped by security forces on the outskirts of İstanbul before it reaches Maltepe Prison, where it was planned to end.

In an op-ed in Aktüel magazine on Thursday Dede accused Kılıçdaroğlu of cooperating with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of masterminding a failed coup last summer, in organizing the March for Justice. He claimed Kılıçdaroğlu was never the organizer of the march since “he is only a supporting actor” in its organization.

According to Dede, the March of Justice, which has been joined by a number of opposition groups as it travels from Ankara to İstanbul, will be stopped at the tollbooths in the Dilovası and Derince districts of İzmit province, which borders İstanbul.

“The best [scenario] is that state [forces] will not let anyone enter İstanbul if they have intelligence that things are out of control. Let me tell you the exact location [where the group will be stopped]. On the TEM [highway], the İzmit-Körfez tollbooths and the Derince bypass, in front of the Regional Traffic Directorate; for the D-100 (state road), the entry to the TEM from Dilovası. Those places will be the last line. And you [Kılıçdaroğlu] will get a load of that Maltepe [Prison]. What will you do? Will you clash with security forces? You will send a delegation of a few to the prison, they will hold a press conference in front of it and leave. That’s it!” he said.

Meanwhile, pro-government education union Eğitim Bir-Sen’s İstanbul branch head Talat Yavuz has threatened participants of a “March for Justice” by saying that “not to force the limits of the nation’s patience further.”

“The people of Düzce [province] warned you by putting a truck of animal manure on your route. Do not think the nation that has kept its patience since [a failed coup attempt on] July 15 about your spoiled acts will continue to do so. We are warning you. If we exercise our right to civil disobedience, you won’t even be able to find a prison to take refuge in. Do not force the limits of the patience of this nation,” said Yavuz in a Facebook message on Thursday.

On Tuesday, an unidentified person dumped a truckload of manure near the CHP’s “March for Justice” camp in Düzce province, fueling anger among CHP supporters.

“The threat has been growing as it nears İstanbul. You cannot control such a big number of traitors with a 10-article regulation, which was released for show. The nation is aware of your goal,” wrote Yavuz, referring to a 10-article regulation released by the CHP against provocations during the march.

“If it is necessary, we can call all our members who are on holiday to duty now and make Maltepe unbearable for you. We are waiting. Maltepe Prison has a capacity to host more traitors. I saw it myself this morning and left in peace. Our nation should rest easy.”

Yavuz’s social media message came a day after the Customs and Trade Minister Bülent Tüfenkçi labeled the participants of the March of Justice as “terrorists.”

On Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has also said supporters of the march were separatists and members of “FETÖ,” a derogatory term used by government circles to refer to the faith-based Gülen movement.

Two days after the start of the march, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu must seek justice in Parliament lest he be “invited by the judiciary [to testify].”

On the third week of the “March for Justice”, more than 10,000 people took part in the march.  “We are determined and committed, whether it is hot or cold, rainy or foggy. We will walk to Istanbul for justice,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at a camping site in the Gökova district of Düzce on Thursday, kicking off the 15th day of his 450-km walk.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said he does not want any political party’s flag to be held aloft in the cortege. “We don’t want anyone to participate in the march with a party affiliation. We don’t accept [a group] who comes with a flag for any particular party. Everyone can come as an individual,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in an interview with Habertürk TV and Bloomberg HT late on Thursday, as he marched through Sakarya province on the 15th day of his 450-km “justice march” to İstanbul.

“I am walking as an individual rather than a leader of a political party. I said in the Güvenpark [in Ankara] that I will walk to İstanbul by myself as Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. We have never said we are walking as a party,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in response to a question about the possible participation of the HDP in the march. “Whoever wants justice and whoever thinks they are exposed to injustice can come and participate in it,” he added.

“There are many people from every party in this cortege. They all have grievances. There are some people who say: ‘I have to be there if there is injustice,’” Kılıçdaroğlu said. Noting that the march was passing through districts governed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the CHP leader said he was surprised by the support they have received in such districts. “A meeting or rally would not be as effective as this march. I’ve been surprised by the positive attention we have received, rather than protests,” he added.

Kılıçdaroğlu also slammed Customs and Trade Minister Bülent Tüfekçi’s controversial recent comments on the march that the government “hasn’t made those roads for terrorists to walk on.” “That minister [Tüfekçi] may regard us as terrorists. He may declare four of us [on the TV show] as terrorists. It doesn’t matter. It is impossible for those who do not internalize democratic culture, who do not come from democratic culture, to understand democracy,” he added.

After the cortege walked around 18 km on Friday under sweltering temperatures, CHP Aydın deputy Hüseyin Yıldız suffered a suspected heart attack in Hendek, and was immediately rushed to the nearby Sakarya Public Hospital. (SCF with turkishminute.com) June 30, 2017

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