Main opposition CHP slams gov’t over ban of May 19 celebrations in Istanbul

Main opposition CHP slams gov’t over ban of May 19 celebrations in Istanbul

Main opposition CHP slams gov’t over ban of May 19 celebrations in Istanbul

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The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has criticized the government over bans on the celebrations of the May 19 Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day, announcing that they will organize a mass celebration in Ankara despite restrictions. 

The day, which symbolizes the start of Turkey’s War of Independence when the founder of the modern Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, set foot in the Black Sea province of Samsun to initiate the struggle on May 19, 1919, is celebrated across the country with events organized for the youth.

“The celebrations which Istanbul’s Beşiktaş Municipality planned to hold for May 19 was banned for security reasons. We know what the true reason for this is. There have been continuous systematic attacks on our shared values by the ruling Justice and Development Party’s [AKP] rule,” CHP lawmaker Bülent Tezcan said after a Central Executive Board meeting on late May 17.

His comments came after the Istanbul Governor’s Office announced that celebrations in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş Municipality would not be allowed for security reasons. The decision received staunch criticism from the opposition party. 

“May 19 is a great story of a nation’s rise from its ashes, a nation which had been considered perished. May 19 is a day which the great leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk dedicated to the youth. But we see that an understanding of a restraint on our national days continues,” he said.

“I am calling on the government: take your hands off of our celebrations. We will continue to celebrate our days everywhere in Turkey,” he said, confirming that the CHP will hold an event in Ankara.

“On May 19, we will gather at Güven Park [in central Kızılay district], we will march to Anıtkabir [Atatürk’s mausoleum], and we will celebrate our day with great enthusiasm,” he added.

State of Emergency Commission

The government on May 16 determined seven members of a commission that will receive objections to state of emergency rulings, however, Tezcan argued that the process of forming the committee was being postponed deliberately because the government wanted to delay evaluations that will be done on investigations opened by the judiciary as much as possible. 

“An emergency decree that called for the establishment of an investigation committee was issued in January. Its term is planned to be two years. Four months have passed; and it was only yesterday that the members and the head were appointed,” he said.

“Ten months have passed since the state of emergency was announced. The state of emergency has been transformed into a purpose to cover up examinations that could reveal the political leg of the July 15, 2016, coup attempt,” he said.