Path of justice march ‘leads to Kandil and Pennsylvania,’ says President Erdoğan
ANKARAThe justice march that the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu initiated is now “supporting terrorist organizations,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has claimed, accusing the CHP leader of “engaging in crime by opposing judicial orders.”
“The line represented by the CHP has now exceeded being the political opposition. It has come to a point where they are acting with terrorist organizations and the forces inciting them against our country,” Erdoğan said on July 1 at a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) provincial heads.
“If terrorist organizations are not comfortable with the state of emergency, and if you are opposing the state of emergency knowing what it is aiming to achieve, then the road you are on is leading to Kandil, to Pennslyvania,” Erdoğan said.
He was referring to the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq, which hosts the headquarters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and Pennsylvania as the current residence of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, believed to have masterminded the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
Erdoğan’s comments came as Kılıçdaroğlu’s “justice march” marked its 17th day on the road from Ankara to Istanbul on July 1.
Kılıçdaroğlu initiated the march after CHP Istanbul deputy Enis Berberoğlu was jailed for “leaking state secrets” to a newspaper, and Erdoğan blasted the CHP head for “acting as an accomplice” by “supporting a criminal.”
“Those who support their lawmaker’s acts, which would be regarded as treason in every country in the world, are willfully taking part in the same crime. Those who make all this fuss know well that it has nothing to do with press freedom, or freedom of expression, or legislative immunity,” he said.
“Those ones who never remember our martyrs with sincerity … are making all this fuss for terrorists and the ones who have helped them,” Erdoğan said.
July 15, 2016 coup attempt
In response, CHP Deputy Chair Bülent Tezcan slammed Erdoğan.
“The leader of the AKP says we do not sincerely remember our martyrs. If he is genuinely following this march, he would know that the victims of the conspiracy case and the families of martyrs are walking with us,” Tezcan told daily Hürriyet on July 1.
“During that era of bliss, [the government] was reading folk lyrics and singing songs to Pennsylvania and Kandil. So what happened?” Tezcan said, accusing AKP officials of having close connections with what prosecutors call the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
“At the time when regarded FETÖ as a gang, they were praising it. They were FETÖ’s errand-runner, opening the path for it,” he said.
“Standing against the July 15 coup attempt is not your own property. We were there when parliament was being bombed. Which tank did you climb onto? Why did you only come to Ankara four days after [the coup attempt]? Why did you hide in Istanbul?” Tezcan added, addressing Erdoğan.