Ankara, Sep 21 () - Turkey’s main opposition leader has been critical of a mass “anti-terrorism” rally attended by more than 100,000 people in Istanbul, arguing both President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who led the rally, are responsible for growth of violence in the country.
“Those who have nourished and grown terror, who refused the investigation of terror, suppose the fight against terrorism is conducted by songs and ballads,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), said in a message posted to his official Twitter account late Sept. 20.
Earlier in the day, Istanbul’s Yenikapı Square was host to a rally that was attended by more than 100,000 people and resembled an election rally, with President Erdoğan vowing in a barnstorming speech to pursue the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) “to the terrorists’ last redoubt.”
At the rally, held under the banner of “Millions of breaths, One voice against terror,” Prime Minister Davutoğlu spoke as Turkish flags waved.
“Yes, those who want to divide this country, those who want to separate this country by wrecking it, may they be damned!” he said. “God willing, they will be damned.”
The rally featured a video montage of, among other things, Erdoğan set to stirring music.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government launched military operations after a suicide bombing in the town of Suruç on the Syrian border late July, which was blamed on fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) -- an arch-foe of the PKK and its U.S.-backed Syrian affiliate.
Within days after the attack that killed dozens of civilians, the CHP filed a motion for the establishment of an inquiry commission into terrorist activity. Yet the motion was rejected by votes from the AKP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).