Turkey: Huge march challenges Erdogan

Issue 

Hundreds of thousands of people rallied in the Turkish city of Istanbul after a 280-mile Justice March against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The demonstration was in response to the widespread jailings and dismissals authorised by the Turkish government after last year’s failed coup attempt.

Erdogan has accused the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the main organisers of the protest, of supporting terrorist activity. He said they were “acting with terrorist organisations and the forces inciting them against our country”.

Emergency rule and the purges initiated by Erdogan’s government constitute a “second coup,” said CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who began the march from Ankara to Istanbul on June 15.

In Istanbul, Kilicdaroglu told a large crowd that the people of Turkey were living under a dictatorship, but that “we will be breaking down the walls of fear”.

Last year’s attempted military takeover resulted in more than 250 deaths. Since then over 50,000 people have been arbitrarily arrested and 140,000 sacked or suspended from their jobs. Kilicdaroglu decided to march from Ankara to Istanbul when a parliamentary colleague was jailed for 25 years on charges of spying.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]

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