A 60-year-old Turkish man whose son has been held in İstanbul’s Silivri Prison for over 10 months on coup charges participated in a “March of Justice” kicked off by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on Thursday in order to demand his son’s release, the Sözcü daily reported.
The newspaper identified the man as “Veysel Amca” (Uncle Veysel) and reported that he has been maintaining a vigil since August 2016 in front of İstanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse to protest his son’s arrest and came to Ankara early on Thursday to participate in the march.
Uncle Veysel’s son was an Air Force Academy student who was arrested after a July 15 coup attempt on charges of attempting to destroy the constitutional order, attempting to overthrow the Turkish government and Parliament by use of force and membership in a terrorist organization.
The CHP on Thursday kicked off a “March of Justice” from Turkey’s capital of Ankara to İstanbul in protest of the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu on Wednesday.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu arrived at Ankara’s Güven Park, where the party began the march, on Thursday with a banner in his hand that read only one word: Justice.
On the first day of the protest, Kılıçdaroğlu walked a total of 18 kilometers.
A high criminal court in İstanbul on Wednesday handed down a prison sentence of 25 years to Berberoğlu for leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria, sending him to prison immediately after the ruling was announced.
Kılıçdaroğlu, who spoke to reporters at Güven Park, said: “We are faced with a dictatorial regime in Turkey. We say ‘Enough is enough.’ Justice has to come to this country. If there is a need to pay a price for this, first we will pay that price. We need to struggle together for the future of this country.”
The CHP’s “March of Justice” is expected to last for 25 days and end in front of the Maltepe Prison in İstanbul where deputy Berberoğlu is being held.
“This march has nothing to do with a political party. Justice, justice, justice. We don’t want a dictatorial regime, we don’t want coup makers, we don’t want those who staged the July 20 ‘coup.’ We don’t want to live in a country where there is no justice,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, which claimed the lives of more than 240 people and injured a thousand others. Immediately after the coup attempt, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) declared a state of emergency on June 20, which is still in effect.
Kılıçdaroğlu referred to the declaration of the state of emergency as another coup because the government has jailed thousands of people and purged thousands of others from state posts on coup charges.
In the meantime, the arrest of Berberoğlu, who would normally enjoy parliamentary immunity, was possible because the CHP and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had lent support to a proposal submitted by the ruling AKP on removing deputies’ immunity from prosecution last year.
The immunity of all deputies who face probes was lifted in May 2016. Currently, 11 pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies are in jail on charges of terrorist links.(Turkey Purge)