Turkish presidential candidate to march to Diyarbakır

Prospective independent presidential candidate Tuna Bekleviç has announced he will march from Ankara to the majority-Kurdish city of Diyarbakır on the first anniversary of the 2017 referendum that approved a change to an executive presidency, opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet said.

The 1,000-km march will be aimed at reminding Turks and Kurds that they are brothers, Bekleviç said.

“While I am marching, remain silent if you wish. Make fun if you wish,” Bekleviç said.

“But I know that I will not tell my children that ‘I awaited disaster in fear’. I am ready. I will leave a legacy. I will say that I walked from Ankara to Diyarbakır over 34 days for 1,000 kilometres.”

Bekleviç has pledged to complete the march, from Apr. 16 to May 19, 2018, alone if necessary.

“We must inspire freedom, peace and brotherhood by saying ‘stop’ to hate and violence,” he said.

“This march is a scream by the silent majority.”

Turkey has been fighting a three-decade-old insurgency by a Kurdish armed group calling for autonomy in the southeast. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.