President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Wednesday that Sunday's Yenikapı Democracy and Martyrs Rally in Istanbul had opened the eyes of many in Turkey and around the world, voicing his hope that the U.S would heed the call from the 5 million people at the rally and 10 million more who were on the streets demanding the return of Fethullah Gülen, the leader of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). Speaking to journalists acompanying him on his return flight from his crucial meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg, Erdoğan said many people who attended the Yenikapı rally realized the extent of the threat posed by FETÖ on that day. FETÖ operatives in the military were the ringleaders of the July 15 coup attempt that killed 240 people and injured thousands.
"There were many people who were attached to FETÖ organizations in the past. They say, 'We had no idea what kind of person he was.' People are shocked by the identification of FETÖ operatives. Most see Yenikapı as a transcendent moment in the history of the country," he said. Many of the artists who attended the rally realized the danger on that day, Erdoğan said, calling on those who were deceived by Gülen's rhetoric to make donations and speak out. Erdoğan described the rally, which was attended by ruling party and opposition leaders, as a showcase of unity. "We hope the U.S. hears this voice and hands over this individual [Fethullah Gülen] as soon as possible. The necessary dossiers have been sent. I hope they don't make any excuses like it is hard to go through 85 boxes of documents."