HAZAL OCAK/ZEHRA ÖZDİLEK
The twenty-first day of the Justice March started at the Kocaeli Tüpraş turn-off with the thousands of citizens who have been marching for days having breakfast. Chants of ‘Right, law, justice’ constantly rose from the crowd. People were asked to be vigilant against provocations from the bus on which the speeches were made. The day started with CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s press statement. A group shouted for Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça to be freed. Kılıçdaroğlu set out on the march among the crowd. Thousands followed in his wake.
The crowd, successfully keeping step with Kılıçdaroğlu’s pace in the initial minutes, began to tire as the hours passed. Along the way, there were those who applauded the march, and those who protested against it, but the majority reacted with affection and applause. The Girgin couple, 80-year-old Saadet and 91-year-old Sami, having left their home to support the procession, said that they had come onto the street for justice. The couple, who applauded in support until the procession had entirely passed before their home, said, ‘This is a huge awakening for people. Let us wake from this sleep.’
Solidarity continues in full strength along the way. Rubbish is not thrown on the ground and anything that is thrown down is cleared up. CHP municipalities distribute water to tiring citizens. Citizens who get hold of water also pass water on to police officers and tiring friends.
‘For my future’
Visually impaired Hüseyin Sönmez (61) appeared before us. He had been on the road for four days for justice. Sönmez commented, ‘I am very happy and honoured. I didn’t expect such a large crowd. Justice is not the CHP’s, or anybody else’s. This justice is for our country and our land. The justice march has ceased to occupy the attention of Turkey alone and is courting the world’s attention. I wish plenty of justice-filled days for everyone and invite people onto the march. Let them come and see me, and be ashamed. I cannot see and I am over 60. I am happy and at ease, for my family, children and future. I make the call once more: We await millions of people on the Maltepe shore.’
Protesting for justice along with his grandson
Next to us, a family is participating on the march with a pushchair adorned with a panda. The grandfather, father and son from the same family residing in Körfez have come. Retired 58-year-old grandfather Ahmet Torun is pushing his grandson’s pushchair. When we hold out the microphone to the grandson, he says, ‘I am marching for right, law and justice for my grandson and son. We will go for as far as we can walk. Of course, as my grandson is still small, we cannot march as far as Istanbul.’ His son, 30-year-old Can Torun, on the other hand, says, ‘We are marching for our country, for justice and for our children’s future. Hopefully we will be able to make our voices heard somewhere. This is our only aim. We only want justice and right.’
Some children on the march were wearing T-shirts reading, ‘Justice for children.’ There were frequent renderings of the Izmir March and various marches over the procession. The first break was taken after eight kilometres at Kocaeli Körfez. Tiring citizens rested in tents made ready by sub-province municipalities, where they dined and drank tea and refreshments.
Beylikdüzü Municipality cleaning worker, 46-year-old Durmuş Altundağ, who was on duty over the break, continued to clean up along the road and at break times. Altundağ commented, ‘We came yesterday evening. We will carry on until tomorrow morning. We serve citizens over the march and at breaks. We perform our cleaning duties to the best of our ability. We also march along with the procession. We are very proud for such a march to have been staged.’
Seeking justice at the age of 91
HAZAL OCAK/ZEHRA ÖZDİLEK