Tens of thousands of demonstrators came out on the streets of Turkey’s capital Ankara and other cities to show support for the goverment in the wake of a failed coup that grabbed world attention. On Sunday, huge crowds carrying Turkish flags streamed into Ankara’s Kizilay Square and Taksim Square in Istanbul, the country’s biggest city, after authorities called on the public to stay vigilant. A call from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that his supporters should take to the streets in the early hours of Saturday as the coup attempt unfolded proved vital to defeating the army faction behind it.
Speaking to throngs of government supporters in Kizilay Square, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim thanked the Turkish people for defeating the coup in what he said was a defence of democracy. “No matter their political views, all parties came together arm-in-arm against the coup. They cried out together,” Yildrim said. “This shows that when the matter at hand is the country, then everything else is incidental.”
In an unusual show of unity, Turkey’s four main political parties released a joint declaration during an extraordinary parliamentary meeting on Saturday, denouncing the plot to topple Erdogan. “Those who bombed and fired shots against the people, those who attacked the people with arms can not be described as Turks, but they are criminals and terrorists wearing army outfits. They will face justice and pay a heavy price,” Yildrim said. Speaking after a huge purge against members of the army and the judiciary was launched, netting some 6,000 people so far, Erdogan said his government could consider reinstating the death penalty, which Turkey abolished in 2004 as part of reforms aimed at joining the European Union. The 6,000 people in detention include 29 generals and 2,839 military personnel, a senior Turkish official told Al Jazeera. The state news agency, citing the office of the governor of Ankara, said 149 police personnel have been detained in the capital.