Millions to attend democracy rally in Istanbul

Sunday’s 'Democracy and Martyrs Rally' will be a significant milestone in Turkey’s political history, as both the ruling and main opposition parties will stand together in the name of democracy.

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

An archived image of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a rally in Yenikapi Square, Istanbul

Istanbul is all set to play host to millions of people at a public rally against last month’s failed putsch and in support of democracy in the country.

Sunday's 'Democracy and Martyrs Rally' will be a significant milestone in Turkey’s political history, as both the ruling and main opposition parties will stand together for the very first time on the same platform for the same reasons.

Around 3.5 million people are expected to turn up at Yenikepi Square at 6pm on Sunday where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildrim and the leaders of the country’s main opposition parties.

“Let’s be there with the leaders and give our message to all of Turkey from there together,” Erdogan had said earlier.

Responding to the President's call, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of Turkey’s main opposition party (Republican People’s Party or CHP), confirmed on Friday his presence at tomorrow’s rally.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu. Image: Anadolu Agency

Kilicdaroglu had initially turned down the invitation, saying his party’s vice chair and deputies would be there. On Friday, however, he changed his mind and confirmed his participation in person.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) hailed the decision of Kilicdaroglu to take part in the rally.

Leader of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahceli, gave his nod to the invitation through a Twitter message which read, “I will be with the poeple in Yenikapi upon the invitation I received as the leader of MHP.”

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader, Devlet Bahceli. Image: Anadolu Agency.

Turkey’s third biggest party, People’s Democratic Party (HDP), was not invited to the rally as the government believes it allegedly supports PKK terrorists.

The mass rally was billed by Erdogan 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 normalisation is extremely important for our country."

Yasin Aktay, vice chair of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, said earlier that Erdogan and Yildirim would attend the rally, which he said "would not appeal to just AK Party supporters."

"On the contrary, we are expecting the participation of all the other parties."

A huge stage is being erected at the rally site along with big TV screens and sound systems.

Around 13,000 people, aside from the police officers, will be on duty to at the event to clean up and carry out technical work.

Helicopters, ambulances and over 700 medical personnel will be on hand as well.

Similar rallies will also be held simultaneously all across the country.

Turkey's government has repeatedly said the deadly July 15 coup attempt, which claimed lives of 239 people and injured nearly 2,200 others, was organised by followers of US-based preacher, Fethullah Gulen.

Gulen 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.


TRTWorld, AA