Customs and Trade Minister Bülent Tüfenkçi on Wednesday labeled as terrorists participants in the March of Justice, which was launched by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on June 15 in protest of the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu, the Cumhuriyet daily reported.
“We construct roads. We construct roads for the nation. Not for terrorists to march on,” said Tüfenkçi during a ceremony in the Kemaliye district of Erzincan province.
“We walk not to rescue terrorists, but nations. We will continue walking,” added the minister.
On Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım 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.
Two days after the start of the march, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu must seek justice in Parliament lest he be “invited by the judiciary [to testify].”
“Holding ‘Justice’ placards in one’s hands doesn’t bring justice. Inviting people into the streets is for the interest of no one. If he [Kılıçdaroğlu] thinks they will find justice in this, he is wrong. Parliament is the place to seek justice. Don’t be surprised if the judiciary invites you [to testify] tomorrow,” said Erdoğan.
Responding to the Turkish president’s remarks, CHP Deputy Chairman Bülent Tezcan said in a written statement on Saturday that Erdoğan had started to instruct the judiciary once again.
A high criminal court in İstanbul recently 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.
The CHP’s “March of Justice” is expected to last for 25 days and end in front of Maltepe Prison in İstanbul, where deputy Berberoğlu is being held.