Erdogan, opposition unite in Turkey rally
A PRO-DEMOCRACY rally in response to Turkey’s failed coup attempt is being held in Istanbul, uniting the president, the prime minister and two opposition leaders on the same platform for the first time in years.
An estimated three million people, many waving the Turkish flag, attended yesterday afternoon rally in Yenikapi square.
Ayse Karabat, reporting from Istanbul, described the event as “the biggest, most crowded political meeting, in Turkish political history”.
As part of its anti-coup campaign, Ankara has been encouraging nightly rallies throughout the country, culminating in yesterday’s grand finale.
The “Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally” is meant to represent the unity of the country, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urging attendees to bring only the Turkish flag, instead of party banners.
“There we will stand together as a single nation, a single flag, a single motherland, a single state, a single spirit,” he said before the rally.
Around 13 000 people, in addition to police officers, will be on duty to run the event.
Helicopters, ambulances and personnel will also be on duty.
Similar rallies will also be held simultaneously across the country, according to officials from ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The rally will be attended by high-level officials. Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who is also the leader of the AKP, as well as the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli were also expected to attend the rally.
Kilicdaroglu and Bahceli will address the rally before handing the stage to the prime minister and the president.
However, the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party’s (HDP) co-leaders, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag are not invited. — Al Jazeera over 700 medical