Turkey’s Republican People’s Party starts ‘justice congress’ to challenge President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

August 26, 2017 4:00 pm

’s main opposition Republican People’s Party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, bottom left, speaks during a special debate of the General Assembly as the nation marks the first anniversary of the failed 2016 coup, July 15, 2017, Ankara. (AFP photo)

Turkey’s Republican People’s Party (CHP), the main opposition group in the country, has embarked on an unprecedented four-day meeting to protest alleged rights violations by the government of President .
CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu opened the “justice congress” in the western region of Canakkale on Saturday, expressing hope that the event could pile even more pressure on the government to stop abusing people’s rights under a crackdown that unfolded following a failed coup last year.
Kilicdaroglu warned Erdogan in his opening address to the conference that the whole Turkey had a “thirst for justice” as more and more people were being arrested and prosecuted for alleged links to the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
“It is my duty to seek justice. It is my duty to stand by the innocent and be against tyrants,” Kilicdaroglu told some 10,000 people attending the event, adding, “Eighty million have a thirst for justice.”
Some 150,000 people have been arrested or discharged from their jobs since Turkish authorities launched the post-coup crackdown. The purges have sparked widespread international criticism with many Western governments calling it beyond the rule of law.
Kilicdaroglu’s justice congress comes nearly two months after he staged a 450-kilometer “justice march” from Ankara to Istanbul to protest a 25-year jail sentence given to Enis Berberoglu, a lawmaker representing the CHP, for leaking classified information to an opposition newspaper.

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu (L) waves to supporters as he arrives for a rally in the Maltepe district of Istanbul on July 9, 2017, marking the end of a 450-kilometer “justice march” from Ankara to Istanbul. (AFP photo)

The march culminated in a huge rally in Istanbul, where hundreds of thousands of people gathered to protest against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The rally, the biggest by Erdogan’s critics in years, drew harsh reactions from the AKP and Erdogan even vowed that he would not tolerate actions undermining public security.
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