Erdogan meets opposition leaders in historic huddle

Turkish president has invited CHP, MHP leaders, along with AKP, to the presidential palace in Ankara to thank them for their stance against the coup. In addition, arrest warrants issued for 42 journalists.

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2nd R) meets with the leader of Turkey's governing AK Party Binali Yildirim (R), the leader of CHP Party Kemal Kilicdaroglu (2nd L) and the leader of the MHP Devlet Bahceli (R) at Presidential Complex in Ankara

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invited leaders of Turkey’s main opposition parties to the presidential palace in Ankara on Monday to thank them for their stance against the coup attempt on July 15, according to the semi-official Anadolu Agency.

The Turkish president sent a letter to the head of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, head of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli and invited them to the Bestepe Presidential Palace.

"The armed coup attempt by the FETO terrorist group aiming to demolish the democratic state ruled by a constitution, fundamental rights and liberties and the Republic of Turkey was prevented by the brave resistance of our people who strongly adhered to its democracy," read the letter.

"The Turkish people encumbered important responsibilities on all of our institutions by their decisive stance against the coup attempt and now expect our political parties to carry out the same responsibilities in this extremely critical period when we need to be in solidarity."

The letter said the meeting would be held on July 25, at 2pm local time (1100GMT).

The meeting between the leaders will be historic as this will be the first time where all three main parties in the Turkish Parliament will come together as one in unity. Additionally, today’s meeting will be the first time for the head of main opposition CHP’s leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu to visit Bestepe Presidential Palace.

Sunday night saw Istanbul's iconic Taksim Square come alive with a huge rally, as thousands of people from CHP joined the governing AKP's supporters in denouncing July 15's attempted coup.

Kilicdaroglu addressed people from the square and called for solidarity in the rally which was organised by the opposition party and backed by the AKP.

Supporters of various political parties gather in Istanbul's Taksim Square and wave Turkey's national flags during the Republic and Democracy Rally organised by CHP, Turkey. July 24, 2016. [Reuters]

Ongoing reactions to coup

Turkey will remove some ambassadors from their posts in connection with a failed military coup, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday in an interview with private broadcaster Haberturk TV.

Authorities also issued arrest warrants for 42 journalists thought to be linked to FETO as part of the investigation into the failed coup aimed at toppling President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, television news channels said Monday.

Among those named in the warrants was journalist Nazli Ilicak who was fired from the pro-government Sabah newspaper in 2013 for criticising ministers, NTV and CNN-Turk said.

There was no indication any of the journalists had been detained so far.

The Hurriyet daily said the warrants – the first to target several members of the press in the crackdown over the failed July 15 coup bid – were issued by the office of Istanbul anti-terror prosecutor Irfan Fidan.

The prosecutor said an operation was already in progress to detain the journalists but Ilicak was not found at her home in Istanbul and could be holidaying on the Aegean. Provincial police there have been alerted, the office said.

Also, earlier in the day Istanbul police forces in an operation to apprehend individuals involved in the failed July 15 coup attempt raided the war college in Istanbul's Besiktas district.

Security forces detained a number of suspects and also confiscated electronic devices. The suspects were then taken to the Istanbul Police Centre for questioning.

A female fighter pilot detained over the plot, Kerime Kumas, has confessed to landing a helicopter with rebel soldiers on board on the pitch of Besiktas football stadium during the coup night but insisted she had no idea a putsch was in progress, the Dogan news agency said.

Over 13,000 people have been detained so far in a vast sweep in the wake of the July 15 coup bid, which the authorities blame on the US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen.

TRTWorld and agencies