ISTANBUL – An estimated five million people attended the Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally in Istanbul on Sunday, according to the Istanbul Police Department.
The massive gathering of people is believed to be the largest of its kind for a political rally anywhere in the world.
The turnout was so huge that people were packed near the Yenikapi rally stage, the Kennedy Street, Eminonu and Zeytinburnu districts.
Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally was held in Yenikapı Square of İstanbul with the participation of almost 5 million citizens. The meeting was broadcasted live on public screens in 80 provinces of Turkey.
President Erdoğan: July 15 showed this country will not fall “July 15 showed our friends that this country is strong enough to foil not only political, economic and diplomatic attacks but also military sabotage. It showed that this country would not fall and would not derail.” President Erdoğan said.
Following are highlights from President Erdoğan’s speech:
On that night, millions of people risked their lives by taking to the squares. Our veterans and martyrs have written their names in letters of gold to history.
This crowd, this unity today as the President, Prime Minister, Chief of General Staff, Chairmen of Republican People’s Party and Nationalist Movement Party as well as citizens with various views
from across 81 provinces gathered here, distresses the enemies of our country the same way it did
on the morning of July 16. This crowd acts as the proof of the cost those setting an eye on our
homeland will have to bear. This crowd is the proof that Turkey will reach its 2023 goals. From now on, we will focus on rising above the level of contemporary civilizations.”
“The Steps are Clear”
Since sovereignty rests with the nation, if the nation makes demands the reintroduction of capital punishment, the Turkish Grand National Assembly will decide on it. If the Parliament makes such a decision, the steps are clear. I declare it advance that I will approve this decision.
“No One Will Succeed in Imposing Captivity on This Nation”
“We should have no fear, since this great nation would never accept captivity and abasement.” the founding father of our Republic, Gazi Mustafa Kemal, said back in 1920 when the majority of the country including İstanbul and İzmir provinces was under invasion. Now, 96 years after Gazi Mustafa Kemal, I am asking you once again in Yenikapı square. Will you accept captivity and abasement? No one will ever succeed in imposing captivity on this nation.
You have actually demonstrated that you will never accept captivity by baring you chest to bullets, lying under tanks and even attempting to stop jets and helicopters that night.
“We Should Evaluate the Powers Behind”
Our state and nation should analyze the coup attempt of July15 very well. We should evaluate not only those who perpetrated this treachery, but also the powers behind them and the motives that led to this action. We should discuss in detail all cases in our recent history that disturb our conscience and raise question marks, and reveal the deficiencies and mistakes. We should review the trials that paved the way for FETÖ’s effectiveness in Turkish Armed Forces.
We know very well the driving force behind the members of the terrorist organizations. When the time comes we will settle the account.
July 15 was not just a coup attempt but an attempt by the terrorists dressed in military clothes taking up a notch the result aimed by the armed activities of PKK and DAESH. This attempt is also a terrorist act. July 15 is an invasion attempt by the armed forces who betrayed their country and the nation. We know very well to whom the lands that have belonged to us for more than thousand years would have been served on a silver platter had the coup been successful.”
“The Boundaries of Our Heart is Wide Enough To Encompass Every Region”
The physical boundaries of the Turkish nation are different than that of its boundaries of the heart.
Our boundaries of the heart are wide enough to encompass every region and every society that sees
us as a brother and a friend. Hopefully the period that follows will be a period of happiness both for our people and for all the oppressed people of the world.”
“The Future Will Not Be As They Expected”
I would like to thank the Turkish people living abroad who had their hearts go out to Turkey on the night of July 15. I know that these citizens had really hard days due to the harassment of the Western media and their negative publications. Take Germany for example. I was to address the rally via video conference but they did not allow it. They allowed, however, PKK militants to broadcast by video conference. Where is the democracy? No matter what happens the future will not be as they expected, it will come back to hit them.
The Speeches of The Leaders
The highlights from the speeches of the Prime Minister Yıldırım, Turkish Parliamentary Speaker
Kahraman and leaders of the opposition parties are as follows:
Turkish Parliamentary Speaker Kahraman: We are here to show solidarity, that we are united as one nation, state and homeland under one flag, and to declare that we have now buried coups in history. We have gone through a massive calamity. We opposed the maligning forces trying to create trouble among the public and we won.
Prime Minister Yıldırım: The nation, who wrote history at Çanakkale and the War of
Independence, with the same spirit, wrote history on July 15. The July 15 coup attempt is Turkey’s
second War of Independence. Thank God and thanks to our martyrs lying honourably under the ground, today we are living on this land united as one, and with our honour, independence and solidarity intact.
CHP Party Leader Kılıçdaroğlu: The July 15 coup attempt has opened up a new door of compromise. Post July 15, there is now a new Turkey. If we can carry this power and the culture of reconciliation even further, we will leave a better Turkey for our children.
MHP Party Leader Bahçeli: The Turkish nation despite the conspiracies stood tall and taught a lesson to the traitors of the July 15 coup attempt. I am happy as I watch Turkey beaming with pride.
I am happy because there is people here, there is faith here and there is will here. The nation who could not be defeated or made to bow down and the invincible national strength are here in this square.