The opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) started on Aug. 15 its “justice and conscience watch” in the Aegean province of İzmir, after holding the watch in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, Istanbul, and the eastern province of Van, Doğan News Agency has reported.
Prior to the event, a delegation including HDP spokesperson Osman Baydemir, group deputy chair Ahmet Yıldırım, and the party’s İzmir deputies Ertuğrul Kürkçü and Müslüm Doğan, visited İzmir Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu at his office, with the HDP sharing a photo from the visit on its official Twitter account.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, the HDP’s İzmir provincial co-chair, Gülay Gün Bilici, said Kocaoğlu planned to visit the party’s watch at Gündoğdu Square.
Before the watch, a group of HDP deputies and citizens gathered in front of the Türkan Saylan Culture Center in the city’s Alsancak district. Locals supporting the watch were seen carrying placards saying, “Conscious justice,” “The rights of women cannot be destroyed,” and “Let us not stop, let us change all together.”
“When we embarked on this trip, we put democratic politics at the forefront. The constitution and its laws are most violated by the political power. They want to close all the channels of participation in social life. We are launching the İzmir leg of the ‘justice and conscience watch.’ İzmir is Turkey, and Turkey is İzmir. This is why we are doing the finale [of the watch] in İzmir,” Yıldırım said in a press meeting in Alsancak.
Meanwhile, strict security measures were taken around the Gündoğdu Square, where the watch is planned to take place, with police setting up barricades.
The HDP deputies walked to the Gündoğdu Square, however no one else was allowed to enter the area.
On Aug. 14, Yıldırım, Doğan, and Kürkçü distributed the planned watch’s leaflets in İzmir’s Konak district and the historic Kemeraltı market.
Separately, the İzmir Labor and Democracy Platform held a press meeting on Aug. 14, announcing their support and participation in the watch. The platform’s statement was read out by Union of Architects and Engineers of Turkey (TMMOB) Secretary Melih Yalçın. Yalçın stressed that justice was a common need for the society, saying that it was as importance as water.
The watch will end on Aug. 20.