March of Justice Approaches Istanbul
Members of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and their supporters are scheduled to arrive in Istanbul on or around July 9, after a 250-mile protest march, that started in Ankara on June 15. The self-proclaimed March for Justice is being led by Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of CHP, and according to media reports, as many as 10,000 people have joined in recent days. The march is taking place during a politically charged time – there is an ongoing state of emergency and the upcoming anniversary of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. To date, the protest has been peaceful, with few reported disruptions, and has also been very well protected by Turkish security forces. However, the march is expected to grow as it nears Istanbul and there is the potential for an increased risk of confrontations in the city if the police, empowered by the state of emergency, take a heavy-handed approach. Several organizations not necessarily affiliated with CHP have agreed to join the march as it enters Istanbul – most notably the Besiktas Football Team fan club known as “Çarşı,” which demonstrated prominently against the Erdogan government during the 2013 Gezi Park protests. There are no specific or credible threats against the U.S. private sector in Istanbul associated with the march; instead, potential risk stems from wrong time, wrong place violence. It highly suggested to avoid all protests and demonstrations in Turkey due to the potential for violence or personal injury.
Reference: Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)
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