Opposition party challenges Erdogan, holds big rally in Istanbul

2017-07-10 02:49:38 | #nomi
Opposition party challenges Erdogan, holds big rally in Istanbul
Opposition party challenges Erdogan, holds big rally in Istanbul

 

ISTANBUL: Tens of thousands of Turkish opposition supporters on Sunday massed in Istanbul to mark the end of a nearly month-long march protesting alleged injustices under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a rare challenge to Turkey’s powerful leader.

A sea of people filled the vast shore-side square in Maltepe on the Asian side of Istanbul for the rally celebrating the culmination of a 450-kilometre “justice march” from Ankara to Istanbul by Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

The rally is by far the biggest by the opposition seen in Istanbul since the mass May-June 2013 demonstrations against Erdogan’s rule sparked by the planned redevelopment of Gezi Park in the city.

Kilicdaroglu began the 25-day trek to protest the arrest of one of his MPs and it rapidly grew into a major march protesting alleged injustice under the state of emergency imposed following last year’s July 15 failed coup.

“Nobody should think this march is the last one. It’s the first step!” Kilicdaroglu told the crowds who roared back with the cry “Justice!”.

“Everyone should know very well that July 9 is a new step, a new history... a new birth,” he added.

Usually, only Erdogan himself can mobilise crowds on this scale with glitzy rallies and the president himself had in the past held mass meetings for supporters in the Maltepe meeting area.

The government has dismissed the march as a bothersome stunt while a riled Erdogan has accused Kilicdaroglu of siding with “terrorists” and the July 15 plotters.

But Turkish security forces did nothing to impede the march’s progress and 15,000 police officers were deployed to ensure safety at the rally.

CHP officials said the numbers at the rally could be as high as over two million but this could not be immediately confirmed.

Supporters have compared the trek of the slightly built 69-year-old politician with Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi’s famous Salt March of 1930.

The CHP leader reached the outskirts of Istanbul on Friday and was joined by tens of thousands forming a vast file along the road despite blistering heat.

Kilicdaroglu had launched the march from Ankara after his party’s lawmaker Enis Berberoglu, a former journalist, was sentenced to 25 years in jail on charges of leaking classified information to a newspaper.

The rally ground is near Berberoglu’s prison in the Istanbul district of Maltepe.

Kilicdaroglu had said he wanted no CHP insignia at the rally, only “Justice” slogans and pictures of modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

The opposition chief has dressed every day modestly in a white shirt, dark trousers, with a hat to protect him from the sun. He rested at night in a caravan.

At the rally the huge stage, flanked by pictures of Ataturk and the Turkish flag, had only a single word printed on its canopy — “Adalet” (Justice) — in giant letters.

About 50,000 people have been arrested under Turkey’s state of emergency imposed after last July’s failed coup and another 100,000 have lost their jobs, including teachers, judges, soldiers and police officers.

“We marched for justice, we marched for the rights of the oppressed. We marched for the MPs in jail. We marched for the arrested journalists. We marched for the university academics dismissed from their jobs,” said Kilicdaroglu.

“We marched because the judiciary is under a political monopoly,” he added.

.

Tags: #Almuslim-magazine #Turkey #

Latest News

What to Next

Turkey, Iran, Iraq concerned over Kurdish referendum

ANKARA: Turkey, Iran and Iraq have agreed to consider counter-measures against Kurdish northern Iraq over a planned independence referendum, Turkey&rs... More

Three civilians killed in held Kashmir claim police

SRINAGAR: Authorities in India-held Kashmir claimed that suspected militants hurled a grenade at motorcade of a local government minister on Thursday,... More

Trump budget opens new fight among Republicans

WASHINGTON: Republican U.S. Representative Todd Rokita keeps a clock hanging on the wall of his Capitol Hill office that tracks the U.S. government... More

15 dead as migrant boat sinks off Turkey Black Sea coast

Fifteen people drowned and up to 15 more were missing on Friday after a fishing boat carrying migrants sunk off Turkey's Black Sea coast, the coas... More

Iran s Rouhani vows to strengthen missiles despite US warnings

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani vowed on Friday that Iran would boost its missile capabilities despite warnings from Washington that it is ready t... More

Fresh fires bomb blast in Myanmars Rakhine

Twenty homes caught fire and a bomb was detonated near a mosque in Myanmar's Rakhine state, the government said on Friday, the latest unrest in a ... More

Pakistan tells UN wont be scapegoat in Afghan war

Pakistan refuses to be a “scapegoat” for Afghanistan's bloodshed or to fight wars for others, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told... More

Kashmiris protest atrocities against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

Dozens of activists staged a demonstration in the capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Tuesday to condemn the alleged violence and discriminatio... More

Haj success opens way for talks with Saudi: Iran

Iran thanked Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for its handling of the Haj operations, saying it opened the way for negotiations between the regional rivals. ... More

North Korea nuclear test more powerful than estimated: Japan

Japan's defence minister on Tuesday said North Korea's latest nuclear test was more powerful than initially estimated, with a yield that was a... More

84