Tens of thou­sands rally for Er­do­gan

The Myanmar Times - - World -

TENS of thou­sands of sup­port­ers of Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan ral­lied in this Ger­man city as ten­sions over Turkey’s failed coup put au­thor­i­ties on edge.

Wav­ing the Turk­ish flag and chant­ing “Turkey”, the demon­stra­tors turned the rally site next to the River Rhine into a sea of red as they be­gan the demon­stra­tion by singing the Turk­ish and Ger­man na­tional an­thems. Some held ban­ners say­ing “Er­do­gan, fight­ing for lib­erty”.

“We are here be­cause our com­pa­tri­ots in Ger­many are stand­ing up for democ­racy and against the at­tempted mil­i­tary coup in Turkey,” said Turkey’s Sports Min­is­ter Akif Ca­gatay Kilic at the rally on July 31, Tagesspiegel daily re­ported.

“The mes­sage to be sent from the event is that in Turkey, all par­ties and NGOs want to stand to­gether against the coup and to de­fend democ­racy,” said the min­is­ter, who was born in Ger­many.

Po­lice said the gath­er­ing, or­gan­ised by groups in­clud­ing the proEr­do­gan Union of Euro­pean-Turk­ish Democrats (UETD), broke up around 5pm with the crowd es­ti­mated at about 40,000.

Since the at­tempted July 15 power grab, Mr Er­do­gan’s gov­ern­ment has launched a huge crack­down, de­tain­ing al­most 19,000 peo­ple and spark­ing in­ter­na­tional con­cern.

Ratch­et­ing up its clam­p­down on the mil­i­tary, Ankara on July 31 dis­missed nearly 1400 mil­i­tary per­son­nel, in­clud­ing a top aide to Mr Er­do­gan, and con­firmed it would close mil­i­tary schools and acad­e­mies.

Mr Er­do­gan – who says a group within the mil­i­tary acted on the or­ders of United States-based cleric Fethul­lah Gulen – has also said he will bring the coun­try’s spy agency and mil­i­tary chief of staff di­rectly un­der his con­trol.

The drama has spilled over into Ger­many, home to three mil­lion eth­nic Turks – the big­gest Turk­ish di­as­pora in the world.

Hours be­fore the rally, Ger­many’s con­sti­tu­tional court banned an ap­pli­ca­tion to show live speeches from Turkey by politi­cians, in­clud­ing Mr Er­do­gan, amid fears they could work the crowd up fur­ther. –

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