Er­do­gan slams op­po­si­tion as ‘jus­tice march’ nears Is­tan­bul

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan yes­ter­day ac­cused Turkey’s main op­po­si­tion party of sid­ing with ter­ror­ism, as a three-week “march for jus­tice” led by its chief neared its end­ing point of Is­tan­bul. Some an­a­lysts have seen the 450-kilo­me­tre trek from Ankara to Is­tan­bul led by Repub­li­can Peo­ple’s Party (CHP) leader Ke­mal Kil­ic­daroglu as a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge to Er­do­gan but the Turk­ish strong­man has re­garded it with dis­dain.

Kil­ic­daroglu be­gan the march on June 15 af­ter for­mer jour­nal­ist turned CHP law­maker Enis Ber­beroglu was sen­tenced to 25 years in jail for leak­ing clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion to a news­pa­per. March­ing with­out party in­signia and sim­ply a sign with the word “jus­tice” in Turk­ish, he has been fol­lowed by thou­sands ev­ery day and plans to end the march on July 9 with a mass rally out­side Ber­beroglu’s prison in the Is­tan­bul district of Mal­tepe.

“If you start protests to pro­tect ter­ror­ists and those who sup­port ter­ror­ismwhen it did not oc­cur to you to take part in anti-terror de­mon­stra­tions-then you can­not con­vince any­one that your ob­jec­tive is jus­tice,” Er­do­gan said. The pres­i­dent told a meet­ing of his rul­ing party that the line rep­re­sented by the CHP “had gone beyond be­ing a po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion and taken on a dif­fer­ent pro­por­tion.” Ac­cus­ing the CHP of sym­pa­thiz­ing with Kur­dish mil­i­tants and the al­leged mas­ter­mind of the July 15 failed coup, he said the road taken by Kil­ic­daroglu was “the way to Qandil and Penn­syl­va­nia”.

The lead­er­ship of the out­lawed Kur­dis­tan Work­ers Party (PKK) is based in the Qandil moun­tain of north­ern Iraq while the al­leged coup mas­ter­mind, the preacher Fethul­lah Gulen, is based in Penn­syl­va­nia. He de­nies the al­le­ga­tions. The march by Kil­ic­daroglu has ral­lied sup­port­ers con­cerned by the ex­tent of the crack­down af­ter the coup which has seen tens of thou­sands ar­rested and even more lose their jobs. The op­po­si­tion leader was walk­ing through the Akyazi district of Sakarya prov­ince on day 17 of the march, head­ing to­wards the town of Sakarya from where he will have a walk of around 150 kilo­me­ters to Is­tan­bul.—AFP

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