Istanbul, Sep 21 () - Thousands of people protested recent terrorism incidents, with Turkish prime minister calling on people to vote for his party and the president demanding 550 seats for one party in a rally in Istanbul’s Yenikapı Square on Sept. 20.
“We will not show mercy to terror and terrorists, we will enter their caves and chase them. The life of a martyr cannot be compared to anything. But I have one demand from you. I want you to make a historic effort for the Nov. 1 [election]” President Tayyip Erdoğan said.
“Send 550 domestic and national deputies on Nov. 1 elections. You know what I mean,” said Erdoğan.
The rally titled “The single voice of millions against terror” started at Yenikapı at 4 p.m. on Sept. 20, a couple of hours before rally participants came to the area with Turkish flags they were handed at the entry to the area.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu conducted the first speech at the rally. He said the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) had stopped a planned withdrawal after the Gezi protests.
Hearing the slogan of “We don’t want the PKK in the parliament,” Davutoğlu said: “Then you will work hard for the Nov. 1 [election] and leave them under the [election] threshold. You will make the AKP [Justice and Development Party] the single-party government once again,” referring to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which is focused on the Kurdish issue.
Davutoğlu also said security forces would continue their operations to keep security tight. “We will continue peace operations and take election security ahead of the Nov. 1 elections,” said Davutoğlu.
Comprehensive security measures were taken as thousands of participants flocked to the area, in which spacious placards reading the names of Turkey’s 81 provinces were placed.
At the start of the rally, Uğur Işılak, a Turkish singer who was elected deputy for the AKP in the June 7 elections but left out of the AKP’s candidate list for the Nov. 1 election, sang a folk song.
Ayhan Ogan of the Civil Solidarity Platform, the putative organizer of the rally and a group that is close to the AKP, delivered the rally’s opening speech.
Also, video footage was displayed showing the Kurdish resolution process and the current environment of violence.