The “March for Justice” led by the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, reached Istanbul on Sunday, July 9. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) have issued a flyer stating that a rally to be held along the coastal road of the Maltepe district (likely referring to Turgut Ozal Boulevard) will be held at 18:00 (local time) on July 9.
Over 10,000 people have joined Kilicdaroglu on his 270-mile march that began in Ankara on June 15. Though the march has thus far been peaceful, attempts to stop the rally by security forces could result in violence. A heightened security presence and traffic disruptions should be expected, with potential for unrest and violence over the coming days.
As many as 1 million are expected to attend the rally. One of the main motivators of this ongoing march is to denounce the state of emergency that remains in place across the nation as well as the arrests of opposition politicians, activists, and journalist. Critics of Turkey's state of emergency, implemented after a failed military coup in July 2016, cite a heavy-handed crackdown on opposition elements across the country under the guise of national security. Over 50,000 people have been arrested under the state of emergency, including over 170 journalists and a dozen lawmakers. Over 140,000 public workers have been fired, including tens of thousands of civil servants, prosecutors, and teachers, and several thousand academics.
A recent constitutional referendum granting Erdogan additional powers has exacerbated the country's already-heightened sociopolitical tensions. Additionally, Turkey has suffered repeated bombings and other attacks since the establishment of Islamic State (IS) in neighboring Iraq and Syria, as well as since the 2015 collapse of a long-term ceasefire between the government and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency for Kurdish autonomy. In recent months, the Turkish military has intensified its airstrikes and military operations against the PKK.
Individuals in Turkey are advised to remain abreast of any developments to the situation, avoid the Maltepe district and any other demonstrations and rallies, follow any instructions issued by the local authorities, and carry proper identification at all times (e.g. passport).
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