Rally con­demns coup

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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

Tak­sim Square was trans­formed into a red sea of na­tional flags as Mr Er­do­gan’s rul­ing Is­lamic-con­ser­va­tives and the op­po­si­tion sec­u­lar camps briefly set aside their dif­fer­ences in a show of na­tional unity on July 24.

But in stark con­trast to the broadly cel­e­bra­tory mood here, hu­man rights group Amnesty In­ter­na­tional in Lon­don claimed it had “cred­i­ble ev­i­dence” of the beat­ing and tor­ture of post-coup de­tainees.

The of­fi­cial num­ber of those in cus­tody since the July 15 putsch has surged above 13,000 sol­diers, po­lice, jus­tice of­fi­cials and civil­ians in a wave of ar­rests that has alarmed NATO al­lies and Euro­pean lead­ers.

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

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

A few ban­ners also protested against 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.

Its leader, Ke­mal Kil­ic­daroglu, told the crowd that, amid all the tur­moil, “The par­lia­ment stood proudly, Turkey stood proudly, law­mak­ers stood proudly, peo­ple in this square stood proudly and democ­racy won!”

But he also stressed that now “the state should not be gov­erned by anger and re­venge”.

“The cul­prits of the putsch should be tried law­fully,” he said, warn­ing that tor­ture and ill-treat­ment would put the state on a par with the putschists.

In Lon­don, Amnesty charged that the govern­ment was al­ready us­ing such meth­ods, cit­ing in­ter­views con­ducted with lawyers, doc­tors and one per­son on duty in a de­ten­tion fa­cil­ity.

Photo: AFP

A demon­stra­tor holds a poster of Mustafa Ke­mal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, in Is­tan­bul on July 24 dur­ing the first cross-party rally to con­demn the coup at­tempt against Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan.

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