The main opposition CHP introduced a censure motion for Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin on Friday, saying he had “blocked the freedom to meet and demonstrate and the freedom to travel during Oct. 29 Republic Day.”
Over 50,000 people gathered in Ankara’s Ulus Square in front of the former Parliament building on Oct. 29 to celebrate the anniversary of the foundation of the Republic, despite a ban from the Ankara governor. Police used pepper gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd as they marched toward Anıtkabir.
In its reasoning for the censure motion, the CHP stated that a number of NGOs had petitioned the Ankara governorate on Oct. 1 in order to inform it that they would read out a press statement in front of the former Parliament building before marching to Anıtkabir. However, in its response on Oct. 16, the governorate refused to allow the activity, arguing that it was illegal.
Both the ban by the governorate and a related circular by the Interior Ministry characterized celebration of Republic Day, as well as commemorating the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, as a crime, the CHP’s motion said.
“While police used pepper gas and attacked our citizens, the interior minister checked the area from a helicopter and directed the operations. Along with our citizens, lawmakers have also been subjected to the use of disproportionate force by the police,” the CHP said, adding that these policemen were protected by Şahin despite the fact that they had committed a crime.
“Assessing Republic Day celebrations in the content of crime and the political authority’s intervention in these celebrations – which were held to celebrate the Republic – as if it was crushing an insurgency, is extremely thought-provoking,” it said, adding that the use of violence against people who held different views to the political authority was a typical characteristic of dictatorial administrations.