Thousands gather in Istanbul to show Erdogan support

By www.primenewsghana.com

Hundreds of thousands of people have gathered in Turkey's biggest city, Istanbul, for a rally to protest against last month's attempted coup.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be joined by opposition leaders in addressing the crowds.

More than 270 people died in events surrounding the 15 July coup attempt. Turkey has cracked down heavily in the wake of the coup attempt, with thousands detained or dismissed from government jobs.

Western nations have been critical of the government's response to the coup. The "Democracy and Martyrs' Rally" is the climax of three weeks of nightly demonstrations by Mr Erdogan's supporters around the country.

Kurdish groups have not been invited, because of alleged links to militants Much of Turkey's crackdown has targeted perceived supporters of US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Tens of thousands of public sector workers have been suspended or dismissed, with many having their passports cancelled. There has also been a massive reshuffle of the military.

About 18,000 people have been detained or arrested.

Local branches of the AK Party have been told to begin a purge of suspected Gulenists in their ranks.

Mr Gulen had been a close ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan until a bitter split between his movement and the party of the president three years ago.

Turkey has listed Mr Gulen's movement as a terrorist organisation reports the BBC.