On May 21, the CHP held a massive rally in Istanbul's Maltepe district labelled the "Voice of the Nation." Six hundred fifty thousand people gathered for the CHP rally in Istanbul on May 21 to protest the conviction of the head of the main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) Istanbul branch, Canan Kaftancıoğlu, for "insulting" the president and the state. Kaftancıoğlu has been credited as the person behind Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu's election success. The CHP's victory in the 2019 local elections in the megacity ended the 25 year-rule of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its predecessor Welfare ("Refah") Party.
CHP's "Voice of the Nation" Rally in Istanbul Maltepe Square; started with the participation of the Istanbul district heads, CHP High Disciplinary Board members, Party Assembly members, Istanbul deputies, vice presidents and CHP metropolitan, province and district mayors.
Demonstrators in the central district of Maltepe chanted songs. They waved the opposition and national flags.
Families of people who lost their lives during the Gezi protests and those arrested in the Gezi Park Case took the stage at the rally. Speaking on behalf of the families, Meriç Kahraman said, "The way to realize our dreams is to insist on the demand for freedom, equality and fraternity and to be in solidarity together. Gezi is an unquenchable hope for equality, freedom and democracy."
Several labourers without liability coverage or wellbeing came on stage at the CHP's "Voice of the Nation" rally in Maltepe. "I've shown up this far, to say it's enough," Nazife Canoğlu, a 65-year-old dishwasher, said. Then she stated, "A loaf of bread costs 5 Turkish Liras; we can't afford it; how can we live in this economy with these price increases?"
Muazzez Süngü, a domestic worker, said the following lines: "I can't go to the market with my 8-year-old child, and thus a system that pushes mothers to do this should be embarrassed, only in case my child wants something that I can't buy" Nusret Güllü, a paper collector, indicated, "We used to make a living by collecting scraps from marketplaces; now even tomatoes are 20-25 Turkish liras." "Two days ago, a citizen wanted 15 liras worth of minced meat to cook. So a family of four children would have to cook with 100 grams of minced beef valued at 15 liras and 100 grams of minced beef," said butcher Fatih Uludağ.
CHP Chairperson Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu speaks at the Voice of the Nation Rally in Maltepe
CHP Chairperson Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu spoke at the Voice of the Nation Rally at the Maltepe Rally Grounds. In his speech at the 'Voice of the Nation' rally held at the Maltepe Rally Grounds, Chairperson of the Republican People's Party, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, said: "Those who make it seem like being a good person is a weakness, those who say they set out on their journey with no possessions but a ring have today become the nation's hangmen. They are enjoying themselves at the palace while the people are hungry. Do not elect your hangmen. This is not a show; this is a search for democracy. We must be serious. We must listen to our conscience. We have to uphold our moral values."
Reminding the Justice March, CHP Chairperson Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu stated: "We took our first steps five years ago, and we are now reaching the end of this march. We are nearly there. We will freely embrace this city's squares, streets, fields, factories, and universities. Rest assured."
The highlights from CHP Chairperson Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's speech are as follows:
In his speech at the 'Voice of the Nation' rally held at the Maltepe Rally Grounds, Chairperson of the Republican People's Party, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, said: "Those who make it seem like being a good person is a weakness, those who say they set out on their journey with no possessions but a ring have today become the nation's hangmen. They are enjoying themselves at the palace while the people are hungry. Do not elect your hangmen. This is not a show; this is a search for democracy. We must be serious. We must listen to our conscience. We have to uphold our moral values."
Let no one despair. The reign of the thieves is crumbling. I was on these grounds about five years ago. I walked with millions from Ankara to Istanbul and met further millions here on July 9 2017. I said that day here that no one should think that this march was the end; this march was only our first step. We are approaching the end of this march now. We are nearly there. We will freely embrace this city's squares, streets, fields, factories, and universities. Rest assured. We are nearly there.
Dear Istanbulites, you listened to the cry of our people before I came on the stage. Someone wishes to drag Turkey into pitch darkness. He wants to intimidate people with fear. We all know the apparatus of this climate of fear that they intend to create. The politicized judiciary, the mafia, drug smugglers, drug lords, paramilitary organizations, gangs of five, pro-government media and their cronies, troll masters, human smugglers, and arms smugglers; they all work together. They are united with a single aim. Create a climate of fear and benefit from it. They do this to gain both political and financial benefits. In other words, they want to keep this system alive by scaring you, the nation. They would like to create the perception that chaos would ensue if he and his palace went. To reinforce this perception, they raid houses for trivial reasons. They arrest and detain people in the middle of the night. They raid schools and take high school children out of school just because they tweeted. They have heavy prison sentences imposed on activists who defend green and nature. They separate babies from their parents. Journalists and politicians imprisoned, political bans on politicians… Now they are preparing to take one more step and shut down political parties. They ban concerts; they cannot even tolerate Kurdish music. They are making the greatest artists this country has created languish in court corridors. A word that the palace and its associates love is 'ban'. They love to ban things without reservation. They cannot tolerate K-pop, the youth, fun, humour, and lifestyles. Indeed, they cannot tolerate freedom. On the other hand, as the Republican People's Party, we want the youth to have free thought, free conscience, and free knowledge. Indeed, each youth has free thought, conscience, and knowledge.
What does this mean? What does it mean, dear young ones? You will not be satisfied that the government has changed, and abundance, peace, and justice have come to the country. Wherever you see a mistake, wherever you see a wrong, you will criticize us freely. I open this window to you; you will not be afraid to criticize, and you will not hesitate.
There is no entertainment for the youth in the palace regime; there are a lot of drugs in the palace regime, and there is betting the young people in the palace regime, and there is gambling for the youth. There are those who go arm in arm with drug lords. They turned the country into a drug swamp. Today, there are drugs marketed to every income group in Turkey. Femicide, murders of workers, preparations to assassinate politicians... We will fight these useful tools. I say it again: We will fight these useful apparatuses. We will fight them to the end, and we will win. They want to create an atmosphere of permanent insecurity to block our just cause. They will fail. We will win; we promise, we will win.
Dear Istanbulites, you have just heard from our people the bitter truth of the economic crisis that the palace wishes to cover up. Our country is in a severe economic crisis. This is the result of turning your back on rights, the rule of law, and justice. This economy is the result of an unjust administration. Millions of families are in dire poverty, finding it impossible to get by. They want to condemn the youth to despair. Inflation has reached 150 per cent, and they cannot even bring themselves to increase the pensioners' holiday bonuses by a single penny.
Dear Istanbulites, this sad story concludes with Hundreds of thousands trying to escape tyranny. We are losing our most valuable asset, our youth. Seventy per cent of our youth want to go abroad. Five hundred fifty thousand have already left. The only thing this palace and its cronies can do is rhetoric. They are making up this sort of discourse. We are all tired of their rhetoric of heroicism and lies. They are always saying the same things! Whenever they open their mouths, they talk about their delusional targets for 2023 for 2071. They go on and on about the effect of external powers, saying Germans are jealous of us, Japan is jealous of us. They go on about secret articles in treaties. It is all lies and nothing but lies. For too long, they have had nothing tangible to say anymore. But it's almost time, my dear brothers and sisters, in Istanbul.
A wind of change has been blowing for a long time. Turkey is ready for change. Our farmers, workers, civil servants, and bureaucrats are ready for change. Craftsmen, industrialists, and merchants are ready for this change. Importers, exporters, and tourism professionals are ready for this change. Fishermen, taxi drivers, and apartment attendants are ready for this change. And most importantly, young people are ready for this change, and women are ready.
We are ready for this change. We must roll up our sleeves and start working right away. We must rebuild the economy. We must rain down on the heads of all those entwined in corruption, those who are eating away from our people's hard-earned pay. As soon as we take over the authority from the palace and that photo-loving minister of criminal affairs, we must settle the hash of this gang of five.
My dear people, we will shatter the order established by this gang of five and others like them. We will smash their ghastly order and get these bloodsuckers off our backs. One important side note here: Those who do not speak out against these gangs, the mafia, crime lords and those who work with them are putting pressure on our municipalities, competing amongst each other to see who can do the most good. They want to stop them from serving the people. But our mayors continue to serve the people in the face of all these politically instructed pressures and plots and will continue to do so.
My dear friends, this order is the order of the thieves. As you know, I stayed in the dark for a week to be the Voice of millions. I said it then, let me repeat it. I am against neoliberalism. I am against the idea of complete laissez-faire, where you just let anyone exploit the people, believing that the market would find its own balance. This mindset, instilled into the society's memory, turned into an order of exploitation and enslavement supported by the government. That is why I believe the government should be involved in protecting people's livelihoods and creating new opportunities. Yes, I want tax reduction. However, to do this, I also believe that our public finances must be restructured sustainably. I believe in fiscal responsibility. I believe that the politicians must be accountable towards the citizenry regarding the tax collected from the people. I believe in fighting crime. Another important side note here: Two female journalists are being threatened simply for doing their job. I will not beat about the bush and say it outright: I address the paramilitary, the mafia, drug lords, the disgraced who declare themselves to be the 'deep state' now, the delusional men who dream of an Asrican (Asian-African) state: If you but hurt a hair on those honourable journalists' heads, then you will pay for it. I will say it again: You will pay for it.
Dear citizens, as I have said, I believe in fighting crime. I believe in expelling all organized criminals from this society. I believe that the illegal aliens coming to Turkey, especially Afghans and Syrian asylum-seekers, should be sent back to their countries. In my patriotism, our borders are our honour. Those who cannot protect these borders, which have in effect turned into sieves, cannot govern the state. They allowed 8 million people into the country without a plan or a programme and our country cannot carry this burden now. This burden cannot be carried socially, politically, culturally, and economically. That is why they must go. We will send them to their countries with music and dance, with smiles. However, no one should forget that we are not racists; we are against racism. We will never allow such a black mark to be smeared on this nation. We will establish the Middle East Peace and Cooperation Organization, OBIT, when we come to power. We will bring peace to the region. We will bring peace to Syria and the Middle East. We will protect the lives and property of all asylum-seekers. Because our principle is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's motto of 'peace at home, peace in the world'.
Dear Istanbulites, my vision of Turkey is based on two clear words: Equality and values. I want equality between people. I want equal rights. I want equality of responsibility. I want equality of opportunity and a politics built upon values. I want us to exist on the values of tolerance, compassion, pride in our differences, respect for democracy, and cooperation.
My dear friends, we must work together to bring this vision to power, embodied in these two words. Believers, non-believers, Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, Circassian, right-wing, left-wing, liberal, nationalist... We must work together! To all our 84 million citizens: Our country is slipping away from our hands. We must stand in union, and fight in unison. This is our country; this is our flag. Just as in the national war of independence we won under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, we must work together. It doesn't matter what we believe in or which Party we supported in the past. We must put aside old arguments and work together to bring about real change. We must fight for democracy and justice without discriminating, marginalizing, or excluding anyone. Altogether, in unison. All segments of society, workers, farmers, shopkeepers, women, youth, public employees, pensioners, scientists, and white collars, will all live decently, cordially, and share the wealth equitably.
I would also like to speak to the young conservatives. These problems are not some people's problems. These problems are all of our problems. Conservative young woman, this is also your problem. Those imposing a political ban on the head of our provincial officer are also destroying your Istanbul Convention. They do not want to pay your alimony; they enslave you. You also must raise your Voice against and object to what happened to Ms Canan Kaftancıoğlu. You need to, young conservative woman; otherwise, they will do the same to you. You were not in SADAT's Asrica meetings. They would not listen to you. While treason was being committed in those meetings, those men sat down and crafted a new constitution. You are not there, and you are not going to be there. You cannot remain indifferent. You cannot say that you are undecided in this election, my young conservative brother. Indifference is not a response. It is not a start. Indifference is an end, and therefore it is always a friend to the aggressor. It is to the benefit of the aggressor. You must stand defiant against the aggressor; you must stand with dignity.
I am coming to the end of my speech. I will touch on two more issues that I have not mentioned until now. I will be sincere; I will share my thoughts with you without reservation. Firstly, some still perceive it as a weakness for a party and a party leader to listen to their people, in a taught helplessness. They say that a leader should not be polite. They make it seem like it is a weakness to be good-hearted, to be good, to be a statesman.
My friends, we are united, and together we are marching to power. And I will never change when we are in power, I am as I am. You know where I stand, and I don't intend to change that. I cannot and will not change being kind, listening to people, understanding them, and dealing with the problems of the disadvantaged. On the contrary, I will do it even more enthusiastically. Do not forget: Those who make it seem like being a good person is a weakness, those who say they set out on their journey with no possessions but a ring, have today become the nation's hangmen. They are enjoying themselves in their palace while the people are hungry. Do not elect your own hangmen. This is not a show; this is a search for democracy. We must be serious; we must listen to our conscience, be virtuous, and, most importantly, elevate our moral values.
Now, the second matter. CHP. They always go on about how CHP did this in the past or did that in the past. Yes, mistakes were made. And no, we are not saying that we are a perfect party today. However, we are a party that knows how to learn from its mistakes. May you and God be my witness: We are making a lot of efforts to improve ourselves, to better ourselves. Wonderful things happen to those who do not stop believing, trying, learning, and being grateful. And that is where we are now. And although we are not perfect, we aspire to an excellent assignment. We want to provide jobs for the unemployed, bring fraternity back to the country, to bring peace to the nation. To rebuild a country where no child goes to bed hungry, a country respected in its region and in the world.
If you agree with what I am saying, join us. If you believe in rational economy management, join us. If you would like to speak up without fear about being locked up in Silivri Prison, join us. If you want justice in everything and for everyone, join us. Join us if you want Academics for Peace reinstated to their posts and the military academy students to be free. If you care about the environment, the animals, and the forests, join us. If you want more budget for education and health, join us. Join us if you're going to keep your children in this beautiful country. Join us if you want to know to whom $128 billion was sold. Join us if you want to know where your taxes are spent. If you believe that waste is haram, corruption is haram, and favouritism is haram, join us. Join us if you agree that minimum wage earners should not be forsaken to a life at the poverty threshold. If you would like to have Family Support Insurance, join us. If you would like the 3600 additional index pension reformand the delayed pension age problem to be solved, join us. If you think about the future of your children, join us. Join us if you do not want to go to bed on a full stomach while your neighbour is hungry. If you think that the efforts of the people should be spent on the nation, not on gangs of five, join us. If you want peace in this country, if you want comfort, if you want food, if you want a job, join us. If you are worried about the scourge of drugs, if you think the fight against drug lords is right, join us. If you want to have meritocracy in public administration and that people should have jobs based on their abilities, join us. If you want everyone's faith, identity, and lifestyle to be respected, join us. If you want the Tomb of Süleyman Shah to return to the homeland, and the tank track factory to be taken back from Qatar, join us.
My dear citizens, as we enter the second century of our republic, I will defend the rights of all virtuous people of this country, regardless of their opinions, beliefs, identities, or political affiliation, at all costs, to turn the pitch black that has fallen on our country into a bright light and open a brand new and clean page in our story. Here, in the presence of my nation, I promise once again that I will take back what was stolen from this country without compromise. I promise to you.
My dear people, my beautiful people. We are nearly there now. Just believe it, raise your voice, and never forget who you are. Never, ever forget. The inevitable is coming.”