Opposition CHP holds press meeting in Bolu amid protests

Opposition CHP holds press meeting in Bolu amid protests

Opposition CHP holds press meeting in Bolu amid protests

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Thirty main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies have issued a press statement in front of the governor’s office and directorate of education in the northern province of Bolu, where police harshly cracked down on a June 20 protest against a ban on a symbolic national anthem.

CHP deputy Tanju Özcan was part of a group of around 250 people prevented from placing a wreath in front of the education directorate to condemn Bolu Director of Education Yusuf Cengiz, after he banned the playing of Turkey’s 10th Year Anthem in schools on June 17. Cengiz had defended the ban, saying Turkey would write a “100th year anniversary” in 2023.

Police resorted to tear gas to disperse the protesting crowd on June 20.

During the CHP’s June 21 statement, party deputy Muharrem İnce said they would “not take permission from anyone to protect the 10th Year Anthem,” which is treasured by many Turkish secularists.

Police did not put up barricades in front the directorate to prevent the CHP’s June 21 statement, but the streets were blocked and the bus carrying party deputies was not allowed to enter.    

“Those who are afraid of 10th Year Anthem are simply ungrateful,” MP İnce also stated. 

Bolu Governor Aydın Baruş said the governor’s office has started examining the events and a decision on whether to initiate a formal investigation into Cengiz would be made in due course. 

Baruş also defended the police intervention against the protesting group on June 20, saying “[the demonstrators] did some unpleasant things in order to put our security forces in a tough situation.”