A massive rally was held in Istanbul’s Yenikapı area on Sunday to protest the July 15 coup attempt, ending three weeks of demonstrations following the failed takeover.
Unusually, after an invitation by President Erdoğan, the leaders of three political parties took part, leaving aside their political differences
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said “Istanbul is great,” while addressing the crowd.
“July 15 has opened a door of consensus for Turkey,” main opposition Republican People Party (CHP) leader Kılıçdaroğlu told the crowd. “There is a new Turkey now,” he said.
All political party leaders should learn lessons from the coup attempt, he said. “That includes me.”
He also read out a 12 article list similar to the one he read out at a democracy rally in Istanbul on July 24, including an emphasis on the republic and democracy, equality before the law, the importance of the parliamentary system, the independence of law and an independent media.
“If there wasn’t a republic, Erdoğan would not be president. Yıldırım wouldn’t be the prime minister. Kahraman wouldn’t be parliamentary speaker. I wouldn’t be the leader of CHP,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also said that the failed coup had demonstrated the importance of secularism.
“We need to contribute to the strengthening of democracy,” he said, adding that an educational system based on questioning should be introduced.
President Erdoğan, who arrived by helicopter, began his speech by thanking the people who stood against the tanks and planes used by the coup plotters during the failed takeover.
He sent his condolences for the 240 people killed by the insurgents, of whom 172 were civilians, 63 were police officers and five were soldiers. He also wished a speedy recovery for the 2,195 wounded.
Erdoğan spoke while the crowd repeatedly shouted that they wanted death penalty to be reintroduced.
“If the parliament accepts the reintroduction of death penalty, I will accept it,” he told the crowd, adding that the death penalty exists in the U.S., Japan and “many other countries.”
“If the people want the death penalty, I think the political parties will also accept it,” he also said, noting that the death penalty had existed until 1984 in Turkey.
Saying that the people had shown that they would not accept slavery on the night of the failed coup attempt, Erdoğan added that the Gülen movement had plotted mischief, but had not taken the people into account.
Erdoğan also touched upon the suspensions made across the board, since the failed takeover, saying that their places would be filled.