Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has criticized a “March of Justice” initiated by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and said supporters of the march are separatists and members of “FETÖ,” a derogatory term used by government circles to refer to the faith-based Gülen movement.
“The main opposition party has also started marching. I am saying it now, this march applauded by ‘FETÖ’ members and separatists is not a national march. Our march is for the future and for independence. Kılıçdaroğlu, abandon this project. You cannot go anywhere with separatists and ‘FETÖ’ members. Come and walk together with the nation,” said Yıldırım in a speech at a public meeting in Erzurum.
Kılıçdaroğlu initiated the march in Ankara in protest of the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison last week for leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria.
The march, with participation expected to increase during the Eid al-Fitr holiday in Turkey, will last for 25 days and end at Maltepe Prison, where Berberoğlu is jailed.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.
Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police officers and civil servants since July 15.