Erdogan slams CHP protest march

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ANKARA, TURKEY – JULY 1: President of Turkey and ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during AK Party’s provincial meeting in Ankara, Turkey on July 1, 2017. ( Halil Sağırkaya – Anadolu Agency )

By Muhammed Boztepe and Kemal Karadag

ANKARA

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Saturday once again slammed the main opposition party over its protest march launched after a party deputy got 25 years in prison for espionage.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu began the march following the jailing of CHP lawmaker Enis Berberoglu, who was sentenced to 25 years for giving leaking information on the transportation of arms to Syria.

Speaking at his Justice and Development (AK) Party’s provincial meeting in the capital Ankara, Erdogan said: “If you are launching a march for terrorists and for their supporters, something which you have never thought about doing against terrorist groups, you can convince no one that your aim is justice.”

Erdogan accused the party of acting with terrorist groups and forces that incite such groups against Turkey.

“This situation, which anyone who in their right mind can see clearly, is part of traps set up in Syria, Iraq, the Gulf, and Europe against our country,” he added.

Kilicdaroglu intends to complete the 450-kilometer (280-mile) walk from Ankara to Maltepe prison in Istanbul, where Berberoglu is being held, in 24 days.

He is being accompanied by CHP deputies and supporters, as well as family members.

Berberoglu was convicted of revealing state secrets by passing images to Cumhuriyet daily of Turkish National Intelligence Organization trucks en route to Syria in January 2014.

He is the first CHP deputy to be imprisoned in recent years. Around a dozen lawmakers from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) are currently jailed, most awaiting trial over alleged links to the PKK terror group.

In May 2016, parliament voted to strip lawmakers facing trial of their parliamentary immunity.




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