CHP General Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, stating that he hoped those governing the country would prick up their ears further over the Justice March, said, ‘Rather than accusing, listening is the prime duty of one who governs. Despite all the abuse that is heaped on is, why do we remain silent, why do we say, “Justice, justice, justice” with conviction and resolve? We are this country’s people. We are opposed to terrorism.’ Kılıçdaroğu, citing the example of a sacred hadith of Holy Muhammed, commented, ‘Acting justly for one day is superior to sixty years of worship.’ Kılıçdaroğlu, recalling that today was 2 July, said, ‘I pay my respects to the memory of those of my citizens who lost their lives in the Sivas massacre. Their quest for justice still continues. It is one of the most basic indicators of how important this Justice March of ours is. We must accept a person along with their thoughts and accept them along with their ideas, and hold them in esteem. Whenever they express their thoughts, we must all jointly show respect for these thoughts. We may have different ideas, but we must always display our readiness to live together.’
Kılıçdaroğlu, noting that sub-contracted workers were also in the procession and they were seeking justice, too, said they had told him, ‘A promise was made to us. We were to be included on the public payroll. Please, we beg you, raise this once more on the Justice march.’ He said, ‘On the Justice March, I once more at seven o’ clock this morning raise sub-contracted workers’ demand for justice. I want justice for them, too. They also work, produce and sweat away. They also want to be on the public payroll and have the job security of those on the public payroll. So, they want justice and we must offer justice. There is a hadith of our beloved prophet: “Acting justly for one day is superior to sixty years of worship.” We all, all our citizens who are supporting us, want a just government, a just state and a just society.’
‘Let them not accuse us’
Kılıçdaroğlu, noting that they wanted an order in which justice prevails, everyone can speak freely and people are not thrown in jail for expressing their thoughts, commented, ‘With this in mind, I hope those governing the country are pricking up their ears further to our Justice March. Rather than accusing, listening is the prime duty of one who governs. Why are we marching and what reason do we have for marching? Despite all the abuse that is heaped on is, why do we remain silent, why do we say, “Justice, justice, justice” with conviction and resolve? Let them not accuse us. Let them listen to us. We are opposed to terrorism. Two Justice and Development Party administrators have been murdered by the terrorist organisation in the East. We send our condolences to the two administrators’ families. We send our condolences to the administrators of their political party, the Justice and Development Party. We convey our wishes that God will have mercy on their souls. We say yet again that it is our joint duty to stand all together in opposition to terrorism in an honourable manner, regardless of who or where terrorism comes from and how. Just as we defend justice.’
Following the press statement that he commenced at 7 am for reasons of both security and the hot weather, Kılıçdaroğlu set out together with the justice procession. The march started with the band playing the ‘Tenth Year March’ and participants’ slogans of ‘Right, law, justice.’ As Kılıçdaroğlu passed through the centre of Sakarya province, rose petals were showered down on him from overpasses.
‘Firsts’ on the eighteenth day
Apart from the eighteenth day of the march starting early, other ‘firsts’ were experienced. The daily routine has been for the first break to be taken after covering a first leg of three to five kilometres, for the second leg to be covered following a half hour’s rest on the first break, and then a long break would be taken after the second leg. On the eighteenth day, after an unbroken 7.3 kilometres had been covered on the first leg, the long break was embarked on directly for the first time.
The reason for this was a problem encountered at the site envisaged for the first break after 3.5 kilometres. Apparently, with the owner of the site slated for the break denying access to the procession, the march was prolonged without a break. After the procession had marched for 7.3 kilometres, a long break was taken overlooking Sakarya Lake. The justice procession, cooling down with water melons, apricots and cherries, whiled away the time dozing in the shade. With security ever since Güven Park having been provided, apart from constantly changing members of the gendarmerie and police, by a 500-person Ankara Rapid Reaction Force team, security duties were assumed by the Istanbul Rapid Reaction Force with 122 kilometres remaining until Istanbul.
Longest ever petition unfurled
The longest ever petition measuring some 600 metres in sixteen parts concerning academics who have been dismissed and expelled from their jobs under decrees with the force of law, detained journalists and the problems that state of emergency implementations were causing in Turkey was unfurled on the procession.
Deputy General Chair Tekin Bingöl tripped and fell on the Justice March. Bingöl, who is reported to be in good health, grazed his arms and knees. First aid was apparently administered to Bingöl in an ambulance.
The HDP will also march today
It was announced that the HDP’s Co-Chair Serpil Kemalbay, Deputy Co-Chairs Saruhan Oluç and Sezai Temelli, Central Executive Committee members Beyza Üstün and Murat Mıhçı, Deputy Group Chair Ahmet Yıldırım, and MPs Celal Doğan, Erol Dora, Ertuğrul Kürkçü, Feleknas Uca and Mithat Sancar, and Ahmet Türk would join the march today. The HDP delegation will later make a statement at 2 pm in front of Kandıra Prison where Figen Yüksekdağ is being held in detention.
‘WE HAVE REACHED THE LAST BALE OF STRAW WITH INJUSTICE’
General Chair of the Turkish Retired Officers Association, retired Air Force Lieutenant-General Erdoğan Karakuş: I am here for justice. If justice existed in Turkey, there wouldn’t have been the conspiracy trials in the first place. This means that some people are breaking the justice system in Turkey. Had it not been broken, there would not have been the Sledgehammer, Ergenekon and Military Espionage trials.
Singer Sabahat Akkiraz: Unfortunately, never mind reaching the last straw, we have reached the last bale of straw with injustice. This is not just a problem of the here and now; the right-wing governments that have ruled our country for the last sixty years include the word ‘justice’ in their names but in practice injustice has had free rein. Three youngsters who did not fire a single bullet were hanged and the blood of those whose homes were marked with a cross and were murdered turned into the river Euphrates. Those who packed people into a hotel and burned them walked as free as birds around Sivas. So, regardless of who you vote for and which party or faith you are from, pay heed to this solicitation.
‘It must not end in Maltepe’
Musician Muammer Ketencoğlu: I am here for justice. We want justice for everyone. We are here because we want a freer country for all those on the inside, for Turhan (Günay) brother and the others in detention. This march, this wave of excitement, this passion, this advocacy must not end in Maltepe. If it ends in Maltepe, I think it might be as though it was just for Enis Berberoğlu.
Actress Melek Baykal: We are here for justice, right and the law. A wonderful formation has been initiated and hopes have bloomed. This march in my view is above party wrangling. People from all circles are here. Everyone will need justice one day.
Food expert and writer Sahrap Soysal: I have come to give support as best I can. People are very cheerful and the energy is very high. It is astonishing that they can walk in this heat. I call for justice, right and the law. I want everyone to be equal. The thing that we need most is justice.
All Civilian Retirees Association General Chair Gültekin Kurdoğlu: There are close to twelve million retired people in Turkey and 70% of them live at below the starvation level. This is the greatest injustice.