In Turkey, hundreds of thousands of people rallied in Istanbul Sunday on the final day of a 260-mile march from Ankara protesting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s brutal crackdown against civil society. This is opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu: “The era we live in is a dictatorship. I want everyone to know that this is a dictatorship era. The government took advantage of the coup attempt that was carried out on July 15th, and they staged a coup on July 20th by declaring a state of emergency. They usurped the power of parliament. We call that the July 15th coup of the presidential palace. The implementations of the state of emergency, which turned into a civil coup, has given the executive, legislative and judiciary powers to one man.”
Since the failed military coup nearly one year ago, the Turkish government has jailed 40,000 people, and 150,000 teachers, judges and other state workers have been suspended. The massive demonstration came the same day Secretary of State Rex Tillerson praised President Erdogan and his government while speaking in Istanbul at the World Petroleum Congress conference, where he was receiving the lifetime achievement award for his work as the longtime CEO of ExxonMobil.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: “I take this moment to recognize their courage and honor the victims of the events of July 15th, 2016. It was on that day that the Turkish people exercised their rights under the Turkish constitution, defended their place in a prosperous Turkey. And we remember those who were injured or died in that event.”