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GÜLSE BİRSEL

gbirsel@hurriyet.com.tr

GÜLSE BİRSEL >The surprise results of ‘Justice March’

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The aim of the opposition’s “justice march” from Ankara to Istanbul was to draw attention to shortcomings and errors in Turkey’s justice system, to display the feelings of the people in the face of injustices.

But there were also other positive results of the march that were not calculated before it started. Let me mention a few of these unintended consequences.

- The march mitigated some of the accumulated pessimism, despair and tension of the 50 percent who feel crushed, despised, and ignored. This defused the tension and became a stabilizer. 

- The police’s performance was quite good and unbiased. Instead of adopting a harsh and an aggressive attitude - as in the Gezi Park protests in summer 2013, during which they burned tents and injured protestors - the police conducted their work in a calm manner, ensuring the realization of a democratic act.

 They created sympathy and confidence in every part of society.

- With the march, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s oratory skills and assessments became much clearer, leading to a surge of energy. People have started saying that “a healthy mind really does exist in a healthy body.” The suggestion that “the biggest problem in Turkey is the lack of opposition” has lost some of its validity.

- Those arguing that “Turkey is a typical Middle Eastern dictatorship” have in some way been refuted. That millions of people openly criticized the government with a peaceful march and rally, and that this found a place in the world media, somewhat refuted that statement. The world was shown that this is the Turkish Republic, and does not resemble other countries in the region.

- Both those who took part and those who were not sympathetic toward it found it correct that only the Turkish flag, “justice” placards, and Atatürk pictures were used at the Justice Rally in Maltepe on July 9. It was thus once again confirmed that Atatürk is a shared value of the country for all citizens, regardless of whether someone is left-wing or right-wing, or whether they are a supporter or opponent of the government. 

We identify with both July 9 and July 15

Of course, the July 9 Justice Rally and the July 15 resistance against the coup attempt are very different incidents. One was a calm rally, while the other was a self-defense struggle for survival against a military coup attempt in which people were killed. 

But we cannot divide the people into two factions because these two dates have a number of common points:

- In both, there were everyday citizens, well-intentioned people on the street.

- In both, there was an aim to defend oneself and the country against injustice. 

- In both, there was a motivation stemming from a fear of losing the values of the homeland. 

- In both, people hit the streets in order for all 80 million citizens in Turkey to live freely, with rights and justice.

For God’s sake, let’s not divide the people anymore as “supporters of July 9” or “supporters of July 15.” We are just us. We are the people

July/13/2017

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