Turkey readies cross-party rally to condemn coup

Turkey readies cross-party rally to condemn coup
Supporters of various political parties shout slogans and hold Turkish flags and pictures of Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, in Istanbul's Taksim Square on Sunday during the first cross-party rally to condemn the coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (AFP)
Updated 24 July 2016

Turkey readies cross-party rally to condemn coup

Turkey readies cross-party rally to condemn coup

ISTANBUL: Turkey readied Sunday for its first cross-party rally to condemn the bloody coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as his government pressed on with a purge of suspected state enemies.
The mass pro-democracy event, to be held under tight security on Istanbul’s iconic Taksim square from 1500 GMT, was called for by the biggest opposition group, the secular and center-left Republican People’s Party.
But to signal patriotic unity, it will be joined by Erdogan’s conservative AKP, whose followers have turned city squares red with seas of Turkish flags every night since the failed putsch.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim tweeted that “this country’s Turks, Kurds, Alevis” and supporters of the major opposition parties “united together and gave the lesson needed to the putschists.”
An AKP official earlier said the party would work to prevent any trouble with opposition supporters, stressing that: “We’re trying to turn these rallies into an opportunity for national unity and a jointly celebrated democracy festival.”
Security will be tight following a series of attacks this year claimed by Daesh group and Kurdish militants.
With crowds expected to be boosted by free public transport in the city of 15 million, the event will seek to soothe divisions after the shock of the July 15 coup and a subsequent government crackdown.
“The Turkish republic is stronger than it was in the past,” wrote Yildirim in an editorial in the HaberTurk daily.
“Turkey is on democracy watch... This watch continues until the anti-democratic elements are cleaned out.”
The number of alleged conspirators who have been rounded up has surged above 13,000 with soldiers, police, justice officials and civilians all targeted in a purge that has alarmed NATO allies and European leaders.