“If today people in Turkey are walking from Ankara to Istanbul, this is the result of the courage infected by Selahattin Demirtaş,” Osman Baydemir said in the southeastern province of Adıyaman on Tuesday evening.
The CHP and HDP are the main opposition parties to the ruling and dominant Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“My co-chair, my friend, brother, chairman Selahattin Demirtaş from the first day since he was imprisoned, and from the day he started his fight for human rights, from the day he shouldered the honorable peace flag in the legal democratic politics, has always given society this message: Courage is infectious,” Baydemir added.
CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu set out on June 15 with hundreds of supporters and journalists for what he said will be a 450-kilometer walk from Ankara to Istanbul. The ‘Justice March’ is in protest to the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoglu, who was convicted of espionage and sentenced to 25 years in prison after leaking video of Turkish military trucks which were said to be delivering arms to Syria.
Members of Turkey’s CHP party hold a banner reading “You will never walk alone” during a weekly parliamentary group speech on June 20 in Camlidere. Photo: Adem Altan | AFP
Berberoglu is the first deputy from the CHP to be imprisoned by the AKP since last summer’s failed military coup, although he joins about a dozen imprisoned HDP deputies including co-chair Demirtas.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is also the leader of AKP, has called the march “illegal” and was only taking place “thanks to the blessing of our government,” according to Hurriyet.