AKP to respond to CHP’s justice march

AKP to respond to CHP’s justice march

The “justice march” launched by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on June 15 is planned to end on July 9 with a massive rally to be held in the Maltepe district of Istanbul, attended by around one million people. 

It is still too early to discuss the effects of this unprecedented “justice march” on Turkish politics, as well as on the future moves of the CHP ahead of the elections. The CHP has been mulling its options after the narrow defeat in the April referendum on shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system. It seems like the march campaign will be continued through sit-in protests or similar events. 

The CHP’s grassroots supporters are satisfied with this justice march, which attracted thousands of people every day from many different political backgrounds. Through it, Kılıçdaroğlu has managed to reinforce his leadership of the party, frustrating nascent plans by party dissidents. 

The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) reaction to the justice march has been intensifying in recent days, as more people join the march as it nears Istanbul. 

Senior AKP officials have been appearing on news channels one after the other, using harsh language to slam the justice march. “We have not built these roads for terrorists to walk on,” one minister said. Another has accused Kılıçdaroğlu of being instructed by what the government calls the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) to “drag Turkey to chaos.” 

In reaction to the CHP’s calls for justice, AKP figures recall their ongoing fight against FETÖ and other terror organizations. They say the main opposition should instead have opted to”walk with the people”
against coup plotters and terrorists. There are even those who try to associate the CHP with various terror organizations, trying to cast a shadow over the justice march. 

However, a stronger reply will be given by the AKP between July 11 and 16, during the week-long commemoration of the last year’s deadly coup attempt. The government and the AKP have apparently decided to expand the duration and the scope of commemorations of July 15 coup attempt in a bid to undermine the aftermath of the CHP’s campaign for justice.  

The coup attempt and those who hit the streets to thwart it on the night of July 15, 2016 will be marked in numerous events across the country and abroad. Parliament will convene in a special session and there will be ceremonies in Ankara and Istanbul on July 15 with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

Although the CHP will also attend a number of events during the commemoration week, in order to show that the July 15 victory of the people should not only be considered the AKP’s win, the driving force will undoubtedly be Erdoğan and his ruling party.  

The next 10 days will tell us what to expect in the short and medium term of Turkish politics. In any case, divisions within society and politics will become more visible, amid rival concepts of “justice” and “national unity against terror.”