It has been eighty days since the end of the Justice March that CHP General Chair Kemal
Kılıçdaroğlu staged in reaction to the detaining of Istanbul MP Enis Berberoğlu, but the
AKP’s anger has not subsided. A probe has been launched into CHP municipalities over
suggestions that they “contributed towards and supported the march.” Kılıçdaroğlu launched
the march on 15 June in reaction to the detaining of Berberoğlu. It lasted 24 days from
Ankara to Istanbul with the participation of, along with CHP supporters, the parties and
circles that waged the “no” campaign in the referendum. The march concluded with the
Maltepe rally on 9 July.
The March and the AKP
The AKP found it hard to take a position over the march from the first day. The ruling party initially adopted a hard line with pronouncements that the march would be criminal, but at later stages, while maintaining its critical stance, positioned itself in favour of the march ending without incident. At the final stage, precautions for the safety of the march were stepped up. But there was no softening of the tone of the harsh accusations against Kılıçdaroğlu in particular and the march. With the CHP side putting participation at the march’s finale, the Maltepe rally, at two million, talk of 175,000 emanated from the rulership. Subsequently, the march has been characterised, particularly from the viewpoint of CHP supporters and participants, as being the most important social action of recent years, while for the ruling party it has always been the “so-called justice march.” For the first time, the AKP has taken the incriminatory stance that it has maintained towards the march from mere rhetoric and comment to implementation. With eighty days having passed since the march, the rulership’s first sanctions have been rolled out. CHP municipalities have been singled out as the first target over the march. Istanbul Provincial Governate has written to the CHP Şişli, Kadıköy and Avcılar municipalities and launched a probe into the march. The provincial governate, premised on the appearance of reports in the media about support and contributions that CHP municipalities provided during the march, has raised the allegations in the letter it sent to municipalities that the CHP “provided material resources, made material contributions and transferred municipal funds” to the march it staged. The governate is seeking the municipalities’ defences in its letter. There is also concern as to whether the initial probe will be expanded and whether an administrative probe will turn into a penal probe.
Indication of panic
The CHP’s deputy general chair with responsibility for local administrations, Seyit Torun, has confirmed the probe launched in Istanbul into CHP municipalities over suggestions that they supported the Justice March. Torun, noting that the march was not a CHP action, but a social movement, and a great many social circles participated in and supported the march and this was not a crime, commented, “The Justice March was not an action over which the CHP had a monopoly. It was a social action and an important quest for justice in the which the wide masses participated spontaneously. Now, the rulership is trying to the vent the anger it feels at the major social movement this march has engendered towards municipalities. This is unacceptable. These probes are a clear indication the state of panic into which the ruling party has fallen.”