Turks rally for democracy in historic square

Supporters of the ruling party as well as from the opposition as well as those from across the political spectrum gathered in Taksim square to defend their country

Turks rally for democracy in historic square

World Bulletin / News Desk

Many thousands of Turks massed Sunday for the first cross-party rally to condemn the coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, amid a purge of suspected state enemies.

Istanbul's Taksim square was transformed into a red sea of national flags as Erdogan's ruling Islamic-conservatives and the opposition secular camps briefly set aside their differences in a show of national unity.

In a rare move, pro-government channels broadcast a live speech from the podium by main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

Despite the high tensions since the coup attempt, the mood at the Istanbul rally was strongly patriotic.

"We defend the republic and democracy" read one sign in the vast crowd, while others declared "Sovereignty belongs to the people alone" and "No to the coup, yes to democracy!"

 'Turkey stood proudly' 

 A few banners also protested the post-coup state of emergency, with one proclaiming "No to the coup, no to dictatorship".

The mass event was called by the biggest opposition group, the secular and centre-left Republican People's Party (CHP), many of whose members carried pictures of modern Turkey's founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

"This is a day to unite, a day to stand up against coups and dictatorial regimes, a day to let the voice of the people be heard," he said at the rally, organised by his secularist opposition CHP but also backed by the ruling AK Party and by other opposition groups.

"We are all together in Taksim today. Today is a day we made history all together."

Erdogan, who narrowly escaped capture and possible death during the attempted coup, has declared a state of emergency, allowing him to sign laws without prior parliamentary approval in a drive to root out supporters of the coup.

His critics fear he is using the abortive coup to wage an indiscriminate crackdown on dissent. Turkish authorities have suspended, detained or placed under investigation more than 60,000 soldiers, police, judges, teachers, civil servants and others in the past week.

 

 

 

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Temmuz 2016, 09:02
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