A March of Justice initiated by Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) reached nearly 20,000 participants on Saturday, the 17th day of the protest, covering the distance between Ankara and İstanbul.
On day 17, novelist Aslı Erdoğan, who was imprisoned on terrorism charges for months, joined the march as well as critical theologian İhsan Eliaçık, who was active during the Gezi protests of 2013.
Despite the high temperatures, the group has completed nearly 280 kilometers of the total distance of 420 kilometers. The silent protesters also carried a thousand-meter-long Turkish flag.
Meanwhile, the Kurdish opposition, the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) decided to support the march with the participation of a delegation. The HDP delegation will reportedly carry placards demanding the release of the party’s co-chairman and chairwoman, who have been imprisoned since late October.
CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu launched the March of Justice in Ankara in protest of the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu. The march is expected to last for 25 days and end at Maltepe Prison in İstanbul where Berberoğlu is jailed.
Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in prison on June 14 for leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting the march, on Saturday accusing the marchers of supporting terrorism.
Turkey has been increasingly criticized by human rights organizations for the brutal purge that has been taking place since a failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016. Reports of torture and mistreatment of political detainees have become widespread in the county, which has been ruled under a state of emergency since July 20 of last year.