We don’t want any party’s flag representing the march: CHP leader
ANKARAThe ongoing march from Ankara to Istanbul is about justice and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said he does not want any political party’s flag to be held aloft in the cortege.
“We don’t want anyone to participate in the march with a party affiliation. We don’t accept [a group] who comes with a flag for any particular party. Everyone can come as an individual,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in an interview with Habertürk TV and Bloomberg HT late on June 29, as he marched through Sakarya province on the 15th day of his 450-km “justice march” to Istanbul.
His comments came after Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) spokesperson Ahmet Yıldırım reiterated that the party supports the march on June 29.
“I am walking as an individual rather than a leader of a political party. I said in the Güvenpark [in Ankara] that I will walk to Istanbul by myself as Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. We have never said we are walking as a party,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in response to a question about the possible participation of the HDP in the march.
“Whoever wants justice and whoever thinks they are exposed to injustice can come and participate in it,” he added.
“There are many people from every party in this cortege. They all have grievances. There are some people who say: ‘I have to be there if there is injustice,’” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Noting that the march was passing through districts governed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the CHP leader said he was surprised by the support they have received in such districts.
“A meeting or rally would not be as effective as this march. I’ve been surprised by the positive attention we have received, rather than protests,” he added.
Kılıçdaroğlu also slammed Customs and Trade Minister Bülent Tüfekçi’s controversial recent comments on the march that the government “hasn’t made those roads for terrorists to walk on.”
“That minister [Tüfekçi] may regard us as terrorists. He may declare four of us [on the TV show] as terrorists. It doesn’t matter. It is impossible for those who do not internalize democratic culture, who do not come from democratic culture, to understand democracy,” he added.
‘HDP supports the march’
HDP spokesperson Yıldırım also blasted Tüfekçi’s comments.
“We were not surprised that the leader of the main opposition party and people who are seeking justice democratically should be accused of being terrorists, because it started with slandering us,” Yıldırım said on June 29.
“When parliamentary immunities were lifted and when our [MPs] were imprisoned, we had to face lots of slandering, but the truth will come out one day. We were the ones being denounced as terrorists back then, now its main opposition party’s turn. Tomorrow it will be the turn of those who have left the AKP,” he added.
CHP leader visited slain police officer
Before starting the 16th day of the march, Kılıçdaroğlu visited the grave of assassinated Diyarbakır Police Chief Gaffar Okkan as voiced his party’s determination in the fight against terror.”
“Gaffar Okkan’s own determination in the fight against terror was appreciated not just in Diyarbakır but all around Turkey,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at a camping site near the Hendek district of Sakarya on June 30 before he started walking.
“To have the people’s support in the fight against terror, the people’s struggle to separate terror from the public is very important. I deeply wish for the entire police force to take Okkan as an example,” he said.
Okkan was assassinated in 2001 along with five other police officers in Diyarbakır by an armed group that opened fire on their vehicle. The perpetrators of the assassination are still unknown.
The march is due to be completed with a meeting in Istanbul’s Maltepe district on July 9 but the CHP will continue to “fight for justice,” Kılıçdaroğlu vowed.
CHP MP suffers heart attack on march
After the cortege walked around 18 km on July 30 under sweltering temperatures, CHP Aydın deputy Hüseyin Yıldız suffered a suspected heart attack in Hendek, and was immediately rushed to the nearby Sakarya Public Hospital.