If you march, you should march against coups: PM Yıldırım tells CHP head
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on June 16 that if main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is going to stage a march, he should have staged it against coups.
“Those who did not take to the streets that day [July 15] are now marching from Ankara to Istanbul. If you will march, you should march against coup. Justice cannot be sought in the streets,” Yıldırım told a rally in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.
The premier had earlier called on Kılıçdaroğlu to end his “justice march” on June 16, as the CHP leader continued his 25-day journey from Ankara to Istanbul over the imprisonment of a party MP.
“Justice is not something to be sought by taking to the streets. Turkey is a state of law,” Yıldırım said as the CHP leader conducted the second day of his 25-day march, during which he plans to march around 426 kilometers from Ankara to Maltepe Prison in Istanbul, where CHP Istanbul lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu has been incarcerated.
“There is no need to walk there in this hot weather. There is a high-speed train going to Maltepe. He is torturing himself,” Yıldırım said, mocking the main opposition leader, adding that Kılıçdaroğlu was acting against a judicial order.
“I advise him to give up on this issue,” he said, adding that as the leader of the main opposition party, Kılıçdaroğlu should respect the court’s decision.
“The court made a decision and the judicial process has not been completed. We have to respect the court, even if we don’t like it,” he added.
The premier also said complaining to the whole world about the country did not suit the main opposition party.
“If a solution is going to be sought, parliament is the place. Inviting [people] to take the streets and seeking solutions there means irresponsibility, to say the least,” Yıldırım said, referring to Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli’s strong criticism of Kılıçdaroğlu for being “irresponsible” in the march.
“I wonder where you will meet if a counter-march starts from Istanbul,” Bahçeli said on his official Twitter account on June 14.
“The possibility [of a counter-march] is not far,” Yıldırım said. “Provocations are always expected when going on streets. But our Interior Ministry is following the case closely, necessary security measures are being taken.”
Kılıçdaroğlu responded to the prime minister by stating that streets were a place of democratic processes.
“The public sought justice on the streets on July 15 [2016 coup attempt]. How soon they forgot the people who sought justice,” he said.
“Our march should not spook him. We will end it when there is justice in Turkey,” he said.
‘Bahçeli will also need justice’
Kılıçdaroğlu also responded to Bahçeli, stating that security would not be an issue.
“If the march is conducted within legal measures, nothing will happen,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“Mr. Bahçeli should not worry, he will also need justice. We will continue our justice march despite these criticisms,” he added.
‘Berberoğlu was the last straw’
Kılıçdaroğlu started his march of justice on June 15 after an Istanbul court sentenced Berberoğlu to 25 years in prison.
Kılıçdaroğlu spent his first night in a caravan in a field near the Batıkent Hippodrome in Ankara and walked around 22 kilometers on the second day.
“Of course it is not just a struggle or a demand for Enis Berberoğlu. We will continue our march,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“Not just journalists, there are academics who have lost their jobs and have been left hungry. We [made this] to think and meet the demands of everybody who wants justice,” he said.
“Berberoğlu was just the last straw,” he added.