Kemal Kilicdaroglu – Reuters/Umit Bektas
CAIRO – 10 July 2017: Turkey's main opposition leader launched a European Court of Human Rights appeal on Tuesday over an April vote that granted President Tayyip Erdogan sweeping powers, stepping up his challenge to the government as he led a 425-km (265 mile) protest march.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), hit back on Tuesday, defending his "justice march" and accusing the government of creating a one-party state in the wake of the failed coup on July 15.
Kilicdaroglu took office as the leader of the main opposition on May 22, 2010 by virtue of leading the second largest political party in the Grand National Assembly. Many media commentators and speculators predicted that Kilicdaroglu would breathe new life into the CHP after consecutive election defeats under Baykal's leadership.
Hundreds of thousands of people rallied in Istanbul on Sunday at the culmination of a 25-day march that has grown into the biggest protest against a government crackdown following last July's failed military coup.
Waving Turkish flags and banners emblazoned with the word "Justice" in red and white, they gathered to listen to Turkey's main opposition leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, speak at the end of his 425 km (265 mile) march from Ankara.
Kilicdaroglu set off from the capital in mid-June to protest the jailing of party member Enis Berberoglu for 25 years on spying charges. Berberoglu was the first CHP lawmaker to be imprisoned in the purge that followed the July 2016 abortive military coup against President Tayyip Erdogan's government. Around 50,000 people have been arrested and 150,000 people, including teachers, judges and soldiers, suspended.