We are walking against the wall: Main opposition CHP leader says on ‘justice march’
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said the party is “walking against the wall” with the ongoing “justice march” from Ankara to Istanbul, kicked off after the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu.
“If there was any democratic understanding, these types of marches would be responded to with maturity. And whatever necessary steps would be taken. But we have a wall in front of us and we are walking against this wall. This is our biggest problem,” Kılıçdaroğlu told daily Hürriyet columnist Ahmet Hakan.
He was speaking in the northwestern province of Sakarya on July 1, the 17th day of the protest march from the capital to Istanbul.
“Our mission is to pass over that wall … If we do not struggle against that wall, if we do not struggle to pass over it, how can we bring democracy to this country?” Kılıçdaroğlu added.
He also referred to Mahatma Gandhi’s historic “Salt March” in India in 1930.
“Because of the fact that [the British authorities] had an understanding from democratic culture, they could not stay indifferent to the march. They did not say things like: ‘He should instead take the train.’ They did not say: ‘They are walking on the roads that we have built,’” Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to earlier comments on the march from ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials.
“They have just given statements to the news media. Other than that they have not made any contact with us,” he added.
Sivas Massacre commemorated
Kılıçdaroğlu started the 18th day of the march in the northwestern province of Sakarya early in the morning.
The march has drawn support as well as protests from locals along the way, and in the Adapazarı district of Sakarya well-wishers threw rose pedals to greet the CHP leader and the cortege.
Taking a break in the Erenler district, Kılıçdaroğlu commemorated on the 24th anniversary of the Sivas Massacre, the arson attack on mostly Alevi intellectuals inside Madımak Hotel staged by radical Islamists that killed 33 intellectuals and two hotel personnel.
“I remember our citizens who lost their lives in the Sivas Massacre on July 2, 1993 with this march. Their search for justice still continues. It is one of the fundamental indicators that shows how meaningful this Justice March is,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on July 2.
“It is our greatest desire that no one is criminalized or accused over their beliefs, identity or political opinions. We should accept all people whatever their thoughts and ideas,” he added.