Tens and thousands of people gathered in Turkey’s southern Mersin province on Saturday for a rally led by main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu to call for snap elections over Ankara’s failed economic policies and the plunging lira, reports Ahval News via Turkish press outlets.
The leader of Turkey’s Republican People’s Party (CHP) vowed to bring “peace, democracy and justice” to the country if his party comes to power in the general elections scheduled for 2023, BirGün newspaper reported.
“I am going to pull Turkey out of this shame,’’ the CHP leader said. “There is no room for despair, we are going to solve all of the problems (of Turkey).’’
Kilicdaroglu cut short his criticism of Erdogan, refused to go into issues concerning ethnic identity and religion, focusing sharply on the economic misery of the common people. He rolled out a long list of populist measures to alleviate the pain of inflation and unemployment in his first year in office.
Duvar English also carried the rally in its headlines:
Citizens who joined the rally shouted slogans of “Government resign,” “Tayyip resign,” “Law, rights, justice.”
No music was played in the rally due to the funeral ceremony of non-commissioned officer Celil Mutlu, who was killed in an armed conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the eastern province of Dersim’s Ovacık district.
The rally saw the attendance of thousands of people as the area was already packed in the early hours of Dec. 4. The rally area was announced to have a capacity of 37,000 people.
The governorate of Mersin claimed only 27K attended the meeting, with opposition sources putting the number at 40-60K. Impartial observers noted the crowd was extraordinarily energized by Kilicdaroglu’s economic messages. The rally was peaceful, with no provocations by MHP affiliate Grey Wolves or police, although politically Mersin is a mixed city which votes for MHP, pro-Kurdish HDP, as well as the two main parties AKP and CHP.
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Citizens touched upon the deepening economic crisis in the country, with one saying: “We are sickened [with the rulership]. It is not bearable anymore. I wish there were elections tomorrow.”
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CHP sources state Kilicdarolgu will hold more rallies to draw the crowds out as well as to force Erdogan and Bahceli to early elections.
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