Tens of thousands of demonstrators have come out on the streets in Turkey’s biggest city of Istanbul for the fifth night in a row to show support for the government in the wake of last Friday’s failed military coup.
People converged on Taksim Square on Wednesday night, waving Turkish national flags and chanting slogans in support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
An effigy of Fethullah Gulen, a cleric and opponent of the Turkish president who has lived in self-imposed exile in the US state of Pennsylvania since 1999, was set on fire.
The participants also carried a banner reading “Leaders of Democracy” in Turkish, and held up pictures of Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and other officials.
A live broadcast of the Turkish president’s interview with al-Jazeera television news network was also aired on video screens installed on the square.
“We will remain inside a democratic parliamentary system; we will never step back from it. However, whatever is necessary for the nation’s peace and stability will be done,” Erdogan said.
He further expressed doubts that the coup attempt was entirely over. “I don’t think we have come to the end of it yet,” Erdogan commented.
The Turkish president also announced a three-month state of emergency in the country during the live stream.
Turkish authorities said they have found a 27-page document titled “Special for Service” and addressed to former Aegean Army Command Chief of Staff Major General Memduh Hakbilen.
Security sources said the document showed that the coup plotters were planning to seize power on July 16, take control of all airports, ports, and customs offices and to impose a curfew across the country.
Turkish officials have launched a large-scale crackdown following last week’s attempted coup d’état.
Ministry of National Education announced in a statement on Tuesday that it had dismissed 15,200 of its employees from their jobs over their alleged involvement in the putsch.
The Turkish public broadcaster TRT also reported that the High Education Board had ordered the resignation of 1,577 deans, including 1,176 in public universities and 401 in private institutions.
Sources in Turkey’s Interior Ministry said a total of 8,777 public personnel had been dismissed from their official positions since the coup against the government was declared late last Friday.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate announced that imams would not lead prayers and funerals for the slain supporters of the attempted military coup.
The directorate, which employs all of Turkey’s 75,000 religious preachers, said the ban would not apply to those who were caught in the violence.
By Press TV