Erdogan Adversary Begins 250-Mile Protest March in Turkey
ISTANBUL – The head of the Turkish opposition’s biggest party began a 250-mile Istanbul tour of Ankara, the capital on Thursday to protest against the dissolution of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the Republican People’s Party, or C.H.P. Said Thursday with hundreds of supporters and journalists in what he said was a 23-day walk between Turkey’s two largest cities.
Mr. Kilicdaroglu’s protest followed the arrest on Wednesday of Enis Berberoglu, his party’s lawmakers, a move that was seen in Turkey as a turning point. While a dozen lawmakers from the main pro-Kurdish party in Turkey had been imprisoned in recent months, Mr.
Berberoglu is the first of C.H.P. – The secular party that was created by the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Mr Berberoglu, a former editor of the newspaper, was convicted of espionage and sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment for journalists attacked by a video of Turkish government trucks that would be required to manufacture weapons in Syria. M. Erdogan saw the escape as an attempt to embarrass the government.
M. Berberoglu became one of about 50,000 Turks detained since the introduction of a state of emergency last summer, which was originally intended to target plots of a failed coup in July, but has since been used to suppress Majority of forms of opposition. More than 140 000 people have been dismissed or suspended from work.
Other notable cases in recent days include the arrest of Taner Kilic, president of the Turkish branch of Amnesty International and the sentence Aydin Sefa Akay of a judge who was a member of a United Nations war crimes group.
Judge Akay has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for membership charges Gülen, accused the group of being behind the failed coup.
The judges of Judge Akay were convicted Thursday by Judge Theodor Meron, President of the International Criminal Court Mechanism, supervised by the United Nations.
Magistrate Meron, who referred the matter to the UN Security Council, said the Turkish government “continued internal procedures regardless of the applicable international legal framework.”
Mr. Kilicdaroglu said at the beginning of his march Thursday he walked towards those who had mistakenly been included in the purge.
“This march has nothing to do with a specific political party,” said Mr. Kilicdaroglu, carrying a sign with the word “justice.”
“It is a blessed march is a march for justice. Anyone who wants justice should support this work.In a country where prisons are full, there is no justice.”
Walking Mr Kilicdaroglu is considered a change of strategy by those who are frustrated by the inability to unite the missing opposition movements in Turkey. In the last elections, the percentage of votes of his secular party is turned off about 25 percent, while Mr.
Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party attracted 40% to 50%, despite the increasingly authoritarian political President.
“This is a turning point,” said Aykan Erdemir, ex C.H.P. The lawmaker now works for the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
“There have been repeated requests from various segments of the Turkish opposition by C.H.P. To take the policy narrow limits of Parliament on the streets – and I think this is a positive acceptance of those calls.”