The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has intensified its rhetoric against the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) “justice march” from Ankara
to Istanbul, claiming that it is “susceptible to the abuse of terrorist actions.”
“The steps of this march, which members of the separatist terrorist organization [the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and FETÖ [the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization] are applauding and walking with, are not the steps of the people. This march is not a justice march, it is a negligence march,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on July 4 at the “opening ceremony” of a road in Istanbul.
“With this march, [CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu] at least has the opportunity to understand the quality of the roads that we have built. I can advise him to walk to the Yavuz Sultan Selim road while heading to Istanbul from Kocaeli,” he said.
“And if you continue to walk, you will not be able to finish all the roads [we have built] in one lifespan. We have built 20,000 kilometers of road and you have only completed 400 kilometers in 19 days,” Yıldırım added.
“The place to seek justice is not the roads, it is the parliament, the courts,” he added.‘Marginal groups will head to streets’
AKP Deputy Chair Nurettin Canikli also said in an interview on CNN Türk on July 4 that Kılıçdaroğlu is “abetting terrorist organizations.”
“That march will not boost the CHP. Marginal forces have stepped in and they will continue to do so.
Terrorist groups will head to the streets. This type of environment is a golden opportunity for them,” Canikli said.
Referring to concerns over “provocations” as the cortege approaches Istanbul, Canikli said “it is obvious that marginal groups will now head to the streets.”
“Kılıçdaroğlu’s politics have the same inclination as those of terrorist organizations,” he said, claiming that the CHP
leader “has direct relations with segments that are close to terrorist organizations.”
Canikli also repeated the AKP’s line that the initial trigger of the march indicates “support for the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization.”
The remarks came shortly after the main opposition party appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over irregularities in vote-counting in the constitutional amendment referendum, narrowly approved by voters in April.
CHP ‘abuses Turkey’s problems for political gain’
AKP spokesperson and Deputy Chair Mahir Ünal also criticized CHP
Deputy Chair Bülent Tezcan for calling on the government to take the justice march onto its agenda alongside the commemoration events marking the first anniversary of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
“It is an important step that those who have said unthinkable words about the justice march now feel obliged to stage ‘democracy watches.’ It shows that democracy can be sought on streets,” Tezcan said on July 3, after the government announced a series of “democracy watch” rallies commemorating the coup attempt.
Ünal said Tezcan’s criticism “raises questions over the motivation of the justice march.”
“Will the CHP
instrumentalize the justice march to cloud over and try to discredit the July 15 commemorations?” he said.