Pro-gov’t journalist says March of Justice will be stopped by security forces outside İstanbul

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Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party members walk during a "walk for justice" from Ankara to Istanbul against the sentencing to 25 years in jail of the party's lawmaker, on June 20, 2017 in Saray near Kizilcahamam, north of Ankara. CHP lawmaker Enis Berberoglu was sentenced to 25 years in jail on June 14 for leaking classified information to a newspaper. / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

A Star daily columnist known for his staunch support for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Thursday that the March of Justice launched by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and joined by other political parties, NGOs and opposition groups will be stopped by security forces on the outskirts of İstanbul before it reaches Maltepe Prison, where it was planned to end.

In an op-ed in Aktüel magazine on Thursday Ersoy Dede accused Kılıçdaroğlu of cooperating with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of masterminding a failed coup last summer, in organizing the March of Justice.

He claimed Kılıçdaroğlu was never the organizer of the march since “he is only a supporting actor” in its organization.

According to Dede, the March of Justice, which has been joined by a number of opposition groups as it travels from Ankara to İstanbul, will be stopped at the tollbooths in the Dilovası and Derince districts of İzmit province, which borders İstanbul.

The best [scenario] is that state [forces] will not let anyone enter İstanbul if they have intelligence that things are out of control. Let me tell you the exact location [where the group will be stopped]. On the TEM [highway], the İzmit-Körfez tollbooths and the Derince bypass, in front of the Regional Traffic Directorate; for the D-100 (state road), the entry to the TEM from Dilovası. Those places will be the last line. And you [Kılıçdaroğlu] will get a load of that Maltepe [Prison]. What will you do? Will you clash with security forces? You will send a delegation of a few to the prison, they will hold a press conference in front of it and leave. That’s it!” he said.

Meanwhile, pro-government education union Eğitim Bir-Sen’s İstanbul branch head Talat Yavuz threatened participants of the March of Justice, saying “not to force the limits of the nation’s patience further.”

The people of Düzce [province] warned you by putting a truck of animal manure on your route. Do not think the nation that has kept its patience since [a failed coup attempt on] July 15 about your spoiled acts will continue to do so. We are warning you. If we exercise our right to civil disobedience, you won’t even be able to find a prison to take refuge in. Do not force the limits of the patience of this nation,” said Yavuz in a Facebook message on Thursday.

Meanwhile, football fan groups from Turkey’s largest football clubs, Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş, also announced that they would join the March of Justice before it reaches İstanbul.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) also recently announced that they would take part with a large number of supporters in the Kandıra district of İzmit.

Several prominent names, including actors, also recently participated in Kılıçdaroğlu’s march.

Kılıçdaroğlu launched the March of Justice in protest of the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu. The march is expected to last for 25 days and end at Maltepe Prison in İstanbul where Berberoğlu is jailed.

Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in prison on June 14 for leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria.

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