CHP General Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, saying that he is taking the Justice March forward with great resolve and decisiveness, has pointed to criticism emanating from ruling circles. Kılıçdaroğlu said, ‘If our march is causing them disquiet, this serves our purpose. I hope, at the very least, that insensitive consciences become sensitive so that we achieve our purpose.’ Yesterday morning, picking up from where they had pitched tent two kilometres short of Kazan sub-province, Kılıçdaroğlu embarked on the third day of the great Justice March he has set out on from Ankara to Istanbul. Prior to starting the third day, Kılıçdaroğlu appeared before the press with his wife Selvi Kılıçdaroğlu, son Kerem Kılıçdaroğlu and daughter-in-law Mine Alşan. Kılıçdaroğlu, saying that he was marching for justice with great resolve and decisiveness, said with reference to criticism emanating from ruling circles, ‘I greet with respect the criticism coming from various circles and especially the ruling wing. If our march is causing them disquiet, this serves our purpose. I hope, at the very least, that insensitive consciences become sensitive so that we achieve our purpose.’
There should be no double standards
Kılıçdaroğlu said that he did not find the detaining of Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Kadir Topbaş’s son-in-law Ömer Faruk Kavurmacı, who had been detained as part of the FETO investigation and then released on health grounds, to be correct. Kılıçdaroğlu, saying there should be no double standards in the judiciary and release pending trial should be standard practice, commented, ‘I do not find it to be correct for people to be detained until they have been definitively sentenced.’
Many SP people on the march
Kılıçdaroğlu also said on a live broadcast in which he took part, ‘There are civil society and professional bodies that have come, there are trade unions and there are ordinary citizens, so, our door and march is open to all who are seeking justice. There are a great many citizens who support the Felicity Party (SP) on the march.’
Participation by the EMEP, too
Following his speech, Kılıçdaroğlu set out on the march accompanied by his family. Labour Party (EMEP) General Chair Selma Gürkan and the party’s Central Executive Committee member Levent Tüzel joined the march. Gürkan, saying, ‘Nowadays justice only works for the sons-in-law of those close to the rulership,’ stressed that she though it important to win democracy and justice in the street and through the people’s demands.
Journalists at his side
Following the first break on the march, Kılıçdaroğlu embarked on the second leg in the company of journalists’ organisations. The G9 Journalists’ Platform gave its support to the Justice March following Berberoğlu’s detention. The G9 Platform’s Period Spokesperson and Association of European Journalists Deputy Chair, Doğan Tılıç, and, from the platform’s components, Contemporary Journalists Association Chair Tevfik Kızgınkaya and Management Board members Başak Kaya and Tümay Berkin, Turkish Journalists Trade Union administrator İklim Öngel and Haber-Sen trade union General Secretary Burak Ustaoğlu marched together with Kılıçdaroğlu. Tılıç said that one of the basic reasons why Turkey had turned into one of the biggest prisons for journalists was the justice problem. Kılıçdaroğlu, for his part, said, ‘We are marching for all journalists, over the intimidation applied to newspapers like Cumhuriyet and Sözcü, for the sacked academics, for the friends who have come to the verge of death and for the two academics who were arrested then detained for staging a hunger strike and engaging in civil protest.’
Kılıçdaroğlu, stating that democracy cannot be spoken of in a country in which over 150 journalists are in jail, said, ‘People cannot be detained for reporting the news. People cannot be detained because the media criticised the ruling party. Journalists cannot be arrested and detained for carrying out their journalistic duties. In doing this, we are not doing it under a particular political identity. We are doing this as people, so as to voice the need people feel for justice. Justice is a notion that nobody can object to. Nobody can object.’ The security measures taken for the march at what has been renamed Kahramankazan following the 15 July coup attempt were stepped up. Two riot control vehicles accompanied the march and the number of drones was increased. Kılıçdaroğlu said in the statement he made in front of the Kahramankazan sign, ‘I thank all the people of Kazan for the fight they mounted during the 15 July coup attempt. I owe them a debt of gratitude. This march of ours is a Justice March, a march for the fallen, a march for those who have suffered injustice. This march has no political, ethnic or faith identity. Justice, justice and justice. We embrace all those who are on the side of justice and await everyone.’
Call to MHP supporters
Former MHP MP Hasan Basri Coşku, on a support visit to the march, said, ‘Pro-MHP citizens should also support this march.’
Fifteen kilometres on the third day
Having covered fifteen kilometres, Kılıçdaroğlu reached the camping place appointed for the third day. Those waiting at the accommodation spot greeted Kılıçdaroğlu with applause and shouts of ‘justice’.
Close monitoring by a doctor for Kılıçdaroğlu
At the spot where tents were pitched on the second evening of the Justice March, the police took wide-ranging security measures. The camping site was shut off with police barriers. Those entering were subjected to body searches. Prior to the third day of the march, Yenimahalle and Çankaya municipalities served sandwiches, fruit juice, tea and lentil soup. On the third day, Kılıçdaroğlu was closely monitored by a sports doctor. The doctor gave information as to what Kılıçdaroğlu should do before and after the marches and about exercise and nutrition, and drew up a programme. The duration of Kılıçdaroğlu’s breaks and the length of the marches have been set in keeping with the doctor’s recommendations.
The CHP’s Mahmut Tanal suffered light injury to his head during the march while stumbling on low ground. Tanal, having grazed his head, boarded the ambulance accompanying the convoy for treatment. The CHP’s doctor MP Ali Şeker said in a tweet in which he posted a photograph of Tanal with his head bandaged, ‘They say brother Mahmut grazed his head while calling for justice! A tiny wee break-time accident. I say this with a physician’s sharp tongue.’ Tanal also said, noting that he had previously broken both legs, ‘It is not everyone who is up to a walk like this.’
Turkey’s image abroad is changing for the first time
CHP Deputy General Chair Öztürk Yılmaz, on the other hand, imparted information about the reception given to the march in the international arena. Yılmaz, indicating that he had spoken to many ambassadors and had received phone calls from the USA, Europe and the Arab world, commented, ‘We see there is great external support. Those who speak to us talk of great support by governments and people for this civil, democratic action. Forces that believe in democracy are still on their feet. This civil action will give a very important lesson. Our relations with the European Union have ended, they have for all extents and purposes dried up. We have been pushed out of the picture in the Middle East and we have entered the most strained period in history with the US. The rules of diplomatic nicety have been put to one side and politics are being conducted in a spirit of enmity. Democracy has been ended at home. Turkey’s image abroad has changed for the first time.’
If only the prime-minister had marched and not hidden
CHP Deputy General Chair Yasemin Öney Cankurtaran replied to the retort, ‘Justice is not to be sought in the street’ made by the government, ‘The Prime-Minister must remember the human chain marches staged in the streets under the rubric “Hand in Hand for Headscarf Freedom” in opposition to the headscarf bans in the 28 February period. Perhaps he himself took part. Was justice not sought in the streets in opposition to the headscarf ban? This means that justice can be sought in the street when need be.’ Cankurtaran, noting that Yıldırım accused the CHP in his statement of not marching against the coup on that evening, said, ‘And I think that his excellency the Prime-Minister was hiding that evening in a tunnel in Mount Ilgaz rather than marching against the coup. If only he had come out of the tunnel where he was hiding and marched against the coup.’
Let consciences hear