The leader of Turkey’s main secular opposition party Kemal Kilicdarogl launched a “march for justice” on June 15 from the capital, Ankara, to an Istanbul prison to protest the conviction of one of its lawmakers.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu started his march after parliamentarian Enis Berberoglu was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison for revealing state secrets.
“Let the whole world hear, we are facing a dictatorial regime in Turkey, in our own land,” he said.
Over the last few weeks thousands of supporters have joined the 68 year old on his journey to Istanbul even as temperatures in Turkey reached 90 degrees during the day.
Ever since last summer's failed coup attempt, public protests in Turkey have become more and more uncommon. Many observers have likened the “march for justice” to Mahatma Gandhi’s famous “salt march”
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Kilicdaroglu of staging “protests to protect terrorists and those who support terrorism.”
Kilicdaroglu responded by saying his comments were “fitting for a dictator."
The Justice March is expected to reach Istanbul by Sunday and with only days left to go the stakes and the emotions are mounting. Everyone will be watching to see Erdogan’s response to what organizers predict will be one of the largest political rallies in Turkey’s history.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.