Istanbul, August 7, 2016/ Independent Balkan News Agency
The huge rally to mark the defeat of the July 15 attempted coup was another blow for Turkey’s enemies, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday.
Speaking at the Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally in Istanbul’s Yenikapi district, he said: “Our presence today upsets our enemies just like it did on the morning of July 16.
“On that night there were people who risked their lives to stop the coup and they filled the streets. History will remember names of our martyrs… in golden letters.”
Erdogan said Turkey would now take a “path in solidarity” in the future.
The president was the final speaker to address a crowd that police said numbered nearly 5 million people.
It was the first time the leaders of the Justice and Development (AK) Party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had shared a platform.
Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and Turkey’s top cleric Mehmet Gormez also attended.
The Yenikapi event is the highlight of weeks of “democracy watch” rallies held in cities across the country since the defeated coup, which led to 240 deaths.
Turkey’s government has said the coup was organized by the followers of Fetullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. since 1999.
The July 15 coup attempt was Turkey’s second War of Independence, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Sunday.
In his speech to crowds at a Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally in Istanbul, the premier compared the coup bid, which led to 240 deaths, to the 1919-23 conflict that gave birth to modern Turkey.
“They attempted to occupy our land disguised in Turkish military uniform and steal away the national will,” he said, referring to the coup supporters.
“Thank God and thanks to our martyrs lying honorably under the ground, today we are living on this land united as one, and with our honor, independence and solidarity intact.
“Every coup which does not kill us, makes us stronger. Just like here and now.”
The prime minister also praised the opposition Republican People’s Party and Nationalist Movement Party for their support for the national will and democracy.
Yildirim vowed to clear the country of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization, which is held responsible for the coup attempt, and bring its alleged leader Fetullah Gulen to justice.
“The terrorist leader will come to Turkey and account for his [actions],” he told millions of people crowded into Yenikapi Square. “We will not act in revenge. We will abide by the law.”
The prime minister also vowed to maintain and boost the atmosphere of reconciliation between the government and opposition. “We will do our best to maintain this historic unity,” he said.
Ankara has accused U.S.-based Gulen of leading the putsch through his followers within the military.
The July 15 coup attempt has opened up a new door of compromise in Turkey’s political scene, which if utilized could make the country better, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, said Sunday.
In his address to millions of people gathered at the “Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally” in Istanbul’s Yenikapi Square, Kilicdaroglu said: “The July 15 coup attempt has opened up a new door of compromise. Post July 15, now there is a new Turkey. If we can carry this power and the culture of reconciliation even further, we will leave a better Turkey for our children.”
The CHP leader added: “Politics should be left out of mosques, barracks, courthouses.”
Source: Anadolu Agency