The people of Turkey have sent out a strong message of unity and determination to protect their democracy on Sunday when they gathered in their millions in the city of Istanbul to protest against the failed 15 July coup and to honour those that died opposing it.
Government and opposition politicians put aside their differences and took to the stage to address the huge crowd. They included President Recip Tayip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildrim (who is also the leader of the ruling AK Party), the leader of the main opposition and secularist opposition, Kilcidaroglu and the leader of the main nationalist part, the MHP, Bahceli.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the country’s third biggest party, was not invited to the rally. The HDP co-leaders harshly criticized the fact that the party was not invited to the event but some HDP voters independently attended the event.
Hurriyet Daily News (HDN) reported that President Erdogan started his speech by thanking the people who stood against the tanks and planes used by the coup plotters during the failed takeover.
He expressed his condolences to the relatives of the 240 people killed by putschists, of whom 172 were civilians, 63 were police officers and five were soldiers. He also wished speedy recovery to the 2,195 wounded.
During Erdogan's speech the crowd repeatedly shouted that they wanted death penalty to be reintroduced.
"If the parliament accepts the reintroduction of death penalty, I will accept it," he told the crowd, adding that the death penalty exists in the U.S., Japan and "many other countries."
"If the people want death penalty, I think the political parties will also accept it," he also said, as he noted that the death penalty existed until 1984 in Turkey.
HDN also reported that repeated announcements were made in the area regarding a ban on carrying party flags or party slogans. Millions of Turkish flags were seen in the area, as well as the flags of Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Albania and the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
Posters of Erdoğan and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, were also seen hung around the venue.
source: comonspace.eu with Hurriyet Daily News
Photo: Millions attended a pro democracy party in Istanbul on 7 August (picture courtesy of Daily Sabah).