Both Supporters of Turkey’s governing and main opposition parties, typically bitter foes, were set to rally together on Sunday in support of democracy following a failed military coup as President Tayyip Erdogan restores order to the country.
In another demonstration of unity after the coup, which was staged by a faction within the armed forces, the head of Turkey’s air force issued a rare statement stressing “absolute obedience” to the chief of the military General Staff. Some members of the air force were involved in the coup.
The chief of the military General Staff, Hulusi Akar, who was held hostage by the plotters on the night of July 15, condemned the plotters on Sunday as “cowards in uniform” who had greatly harmed the nation and the army.
Erdogan, who narrowly escaped capture and possible death during the attempted coup, has declared a state of emergency, allowing him to sign laws without prior parliamentary approval in a drive to root out supporters of the coup.
Critics of Erdogan fear he is using the abortive coup to wage an indiscriminate crackdown on dissent. Turkish authorities have suspended, detained or placed under investigation more than 60,000 soldiers, police, judges, teachers, civil servants and others in the past week.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Saturday authorities had taken around 13,000 people into custody over the coup attempt, including 8,831 soldiers. He pledged they would have a fair trial.
In his decree Erdogan extended the maximum period of detention for suspects from four days to 30, a move Amnesty said increased the risk of torture or other maltreatment of detainees.
Erdogan accuses U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has many followers in Turkey, of orchestrating the abortive coup.
In his first decree Erdogan ordered the closure of thousands of private schools, charities and foundations with suspected links to Gulen.
The foundations targeted include the Association of Judges and Prosecutors, a secular group that criticized a judicial bill drafted by the AK Party and now signed into law by Erdogan.
But demonstrators gathering for Sunday evening’s planned cross-party “Republic and Democracy” rally in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square will try to set aside such concerns for now in a spirit of unity following the failed coup, in which at least 246 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured.