Why did 5 million Turks assemble at the massive Yenikapı Square on Sunday? What motivated a crowd that would equal the population of a moderate state to come to a rally and stay there for hours waving Turkish flags and chanting pro-democracy slogans?
On the night of July 15 a nation rose to the occasion, especially in Ankara and Istanbul and in several other cities, to flock into the streets, challenge tanks, armored vehicles, helicopter gunships and F-16 fighters to foil a coup attempt staged by military personnel affiliated to the Gülen Terror Cult (FETÖ).
The bloody coup attempt left 240 people dead, 170 of them civilians. About 2,100 people were wounded by bombs, bullets and tanks. These were the brave martyrs and civilians who used their bodies to save Turkey's democracy. Also among them were several brave policemen and only a handful of soldiers.
The brave actions of these Turks halted a military coup and will go down in Turkish history as a legend written by the ordinary man in the street against a well-armed army.
Did the world see what happened on July 15 or not? The reactions we have seen seem to suggest that despite the fact that the coup attempt was broadcast live like an action movie, people in the West did not really acknowledge the noble fight put up by the Turkish people on that faithful night and instead have concentrated more on how the government has clamped down on the coup plotters and how they are being weeded out from the state system and sent to prison pending trial.
Of course, this offends the Turkish people in general, regardless of whether they are politically motivated and are strong supporters of a political party or if they are just indifferent people on the street. That is why 5 million people turned out at the rally in Yenikapı to show to the world that this nation rose to the occasion on July 15. On Sunday they once again assembled to show to the world their sincere belief and loyalty to democracy and its supreme values.
The fact that the leading political parties were represented at the rally by their respective leaders showed that the government and the opposition were united in telling the world that Turks want their noble struggle for democracy to be acknowledged by the free world.
Yes, the world hesitated for one second in view of this massive rally which is unprecedented in Western democratic history! No crowd like this has ever assembled in any of the so-called Western democracies to speak up for democracy and democratic values. So shouldn't the leaders of the so-called free world acknowledge all this instead of preaching to us about the crackdown that followed the coup?
If a group of people who have infiltrated the military stage a bloody coup and get caught what do you expect a government to do? If that coup was also supported by thousands of civil servants embedded in state departments by the coup plotters would you not weed them out and dismiss them? If the coup plotters included judges and prosecutors would you not put them in prison? Or would the politicians in Western countries prefer to kiss them on both cheeks, give them a hug and tell them "let bygones be bygones?"
Turkey is a part of NATO and the Council of Europe and negotiating to become a full member of the European Union. So it would have been only normal for the leaders of these countries to have said a few words of encouragement to the noble struggle of the Turkish people against this coup attempt. But we did not hear anything at all, which made the nation think "do they really feel we are a part of them or do they just want to use us as expendable soldiers in their fights?" On Sunday, the message was clear: This nation with all its shades, colors and views is united, supports democracy and will no longer tolerate coups and outside interference.