Erdogan invites party leaders to huge anti-coup rally
Massive gathering, culminating nationwide democracy watches, planned for Sunday in Istanbul’s Yenikapi square
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Monday sent letters to the leaders of three major political parties inviting them to attend and speak at the Democracy and Martyrs Rally set for Sunday in Istanbul.
Presidential sources, speaking on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media, said the letters signed by the presidential secretary general, Fahri Kasirga, were sent to the respective secretaries general of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party chairman, Binali Yildirim, as well as Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahceli.
The letter hailed the “courageous and determined resistance” of the Turkish nation which helped defeat the July 15 coup attempt by “a group of Fetullah Gulen terrorists in the Turkish Armed Forces, disguised in military uniform.”
The letter also touted the “strong stance” shown by the parties in the name of democracy, freedom, and the rule of law both during and in the coup bid’s aftermath, which has become a symbol of people coming from all walks of life standing united to “protect the country and the future of its people.”
“The ongoing democracy watches across the country will culminate in a Democracy and Martyrs Rally to be held at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 7 in Istanbul’s Yenikapi Square,” it said.
The massive rally was announced by Erdogan Saturday, billed as an event that would attract participation from citizens, political leaders, top military officers, musicians, and athletes.
"Let the nation be there together," Erdogan said. "Accelerating the process of normalization is extremely important for our country."
Turkey's government has repeatedly said the deadly July 15 coup attempt, which martyred more than 230 people and injured nearly 2,200 others, was organized by followers of U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen.
The U.S.-based preacher is also accused of running a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the parallel state.