Debate over CHP’s ‘justice march’ escalates

Debate over CHP’s ‘justice march’ escalates

Debate over CHP’s ‘justice march’ escalates

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The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP)’s “justice march” from Ankara to Istanbul is continuing amid an escalating war of words between party chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and the government, with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım blasting the march as “non-national.”

“The leader of the main opposition party has begun to walk. But a march that is being loudly applauded by FETÖ [Fethullahist Terrorist Organization] and separatists is not a national march. Our march is for our people, for the future and for stability,” Yıldırım said at a public rally in the eastern province of Erzurum on June 26. 

“Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu, you should give up. You can go nowhere with separatists and FETÖ but a dead-end street,” he added. 

Kılıçdaroğlu launched the march from Ankara to Istanbul after a court jailed Istanbul deputy Enis Berberoğlu, with prosecutors demanding a 25-year sentence on espionage charges. 

“Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu, come and walk with us instead. Come and walk with the people. That would give you a future [in politics],” Yıldırım said, also vowing that his government’s “fight against FETÖ will continue without any halt.”

“We will be in unity. We will not allow anybody to break this unity through artificial agendas. We know terror organizations are working inside and outside the country to cancel Turkey’s achievements. They have used FETÖ as a means and are still using it to this end,” he added.

CHP MP ‘arrested on gov’t order’ 

Meanwhile, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that deputy Enis Berberoğlu was arrested on the order of the government, describing the arrest “as the most concrete evidence” of judicial interference by the executive power in Turkey. 

“We heard something yesterday that saddened us. Apparently, while a person is still being tried by the court, a special cell in three different positions at Maltepe Prison has been prepared [for him]. This has been done because it’s known in advance that this person will be arrested, as well as how many years he will be sentenced to,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on June 26, speaking to reporters on the 12th day of his “justice march.” 

Although Kılıçdaroğlu did not name him explicitly, the individual he was referring to is believed to be Berberoğlu.

“This is one of the most concrete examples of the link between the judiciary and the government, and it is another incident that justifies our march. The court still has to issue its verdict but the decision has already been given by the executive. The court only announces what has already been decided,” the CHP head said. 

The cell where Berberoğlu will be placed has already been prepared and officials have visited the prison to check the preparations, said Kılıçdaroğlu. 

“This hurt us deeply and shows us once again why justice is a must. We are continuing on our way on our 12th day,” he added. 

Bozdağ: CHP leader is lying 

Kılıçdaroğlu’s claims drew and angry response from Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, who described them as a “big lie.” 

“Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu, you are lying in the people’s face. You are even not blushing. No such thing has happened. This is a lie. Beyond even a lie, it is slander. It is slander aiming to provoke the people,” Bozdağ told reporters in the Central Anatolian province of Yozgat. 

He claimed that he only heard about Berberoğlu’s arrest after the court had issued its verdict, and said the decision about the prison where he would be placed if convicted would only be made after the final court verdict.  

Kılıçdaroğlu had initially announced that his intention was to walk to Istanbul alone, accompanied only by a placard with “justice” written on it. However, large crowds have been accompanying him on the road, with up to 6,000 well-wishers walking alongside him every day. 

The CHP leader spends the nights in a specially designed caravan, while those accompanying him sleep in tents.

Meanwhile, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli also strongly criticized the CHP’s march on June 26. 

“No one has the right to drag Turkey into chaos, confrontation, darkness, and to do political shows. The CHP should pull itself together,” Bahçeli said.

He also stressed that the government should extend the ongoing state of emergency. 

“The factors included in the scope of the state of emergency should be dwelled upon and addressed with determination. Those who want to abolish the state of emergency with the understanding that it is against democracy and against freedom are simply biased under the influence of July 15 [the failed coup attempt],” Bahçeli said.