Supporters of the Turkish main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) hold pictures of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Turkish flags as they attend an anti-government rally in Istanbul, Turkey, 21 May 2022. EPA-EFE/SEDAT SUNA Turkish Opposition Holds Mass Rally to Demand JusticeHamdi Firat BuyukSarajevoBIRNMay 21, 202217:48 While President Erdogan intensifies his crackdown on his opponents ahead of the next 2023 elections, Turkish opposition supporters held a mass gathering in Istanbul.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered on Saturday in Istanbul’s Maltepe Square for a political rally demanding human rights, freedoms and justice, organised by the main opposition Republican People’s Party, CHP.

The assembled crowd also demanded an end to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown on perceived opponents.

“They will not succeed… we will win, we will win! Turkey is ready for change,” said Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the CHP asking all parts of the society and politics to unite.

Kilicdaroglu also added that the nation was exploited by corruption, political pressure and bad economic management of the government of President Erdogan.

The crowd shouted many slogans including “This is just the beginning we will continue to fight!”

Protesters came to Maltepe Square from other Istanbul districts as well as neighbouring cities and towns. In addition to CHP officials, MPs and supporters, members of other opposition parties were present at the rally.

Before the rally, many opposition figures urged people to head to Maltepe Square.

“Let’s meet in Maltepe at the rally of ‘the Nation’s Voice’ with Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the struggle for rights, rule of law and justice,” Istanbul’s popular mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, said on Friday.

The rally was originally set to be organised in the city of Bursa in north-western Turkey but Kilicdaroglu later decided to move it to Istanbul following a court ruling jailing the chair of his party’s Istanbul branch.

As part of President Erdogan’s growing crackdown on critics, the Court of Cassation upheld several jail sentences against Canan Kaftancioglu, head of the CHP’s Istanbul branch.

Kaftancioglu wsas jailed for insulting Turkey and its president on social media, in the view of the judges.

While Kaftancioglu will only serve a few days of her prison sentence in all likelihood, the ruling also bans her from active politics.

Opposition politicians and experts fear this is only the beginning of Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP’s efforts to gut the opposition of able politicians.

Turkish Opposition Holds Mass Rally to Demand Justice

Supporters of the Turkish main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) hold pictures of the Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Turkish flags as they attend the anti-government rally in Istanbul, Turkey, 21 May 2022. EPA-EFE/SEDAT SUNA

Turkish Opposition Holds Mass Rally to Demand Justice

The view of the Maltepe Square from the podium. Photo: Republican People’s Party, CHP.

Turkish Opposition Holds Mass Rally to Demand Justice

Turkish main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu (L) and his wife Selvi Kilicdaroglu (C) cheer their supporters during an anti-government rally in Istanbul, Turkey, 21 May 2022. EPA-EFE/SEDAT SUNA

Turkish Opposition Holds Mass Rally to Demand Justice

Supporters of the Turkish main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) hold picture of the Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Turkish flags as they attend anti-government rally in Istanbul, Turkey, 21 May 2022. EPA-EFE/SEDAT SUNA

Turkish Opposition Holds Mass Rally to Demand Justice

Supporters of the Turkish main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) hold picture of the Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Turkish flags as they attend anti-government rally in Istanbul, Turkey, 21 May 2022. EPA-EFE/SEDAT SUNA

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