UPDATE – Turkish parliament holds extraordinary session


By Hale Turkes

ANKARA (AA) – The Turkish parliament convened Saturday for an extraordinary session in the aftermath of the attempted Friday night coup.

“What is necessary will be done and [the perpetrators] will be punished in the heaviest manner,” Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman said in a speech opening the session.

He also expressed his belief that public order would be restored soon.

Kahraman said a joint declaration by all four parties in parliament – the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) – would be read out following the speeches of the chairmen.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim started his speech by remembering the martyrs who sacrificed their own lives in defense of the “nation’s independence and future” on Friday night.

He thanked the public for their support, having taken to the streets to protest the coup attempt. He also praised the deputies who went to parliament and stayed there amid all the bombing.

“They started to drop bombs on parliament. They fired. Yet you did not retreat,” he said, adding that the MPs thus demonstrated exemplary behavior to parliaments and democracies all around the world.

“As the public defended its independence on the streets, you, as the representatives of the nation, held on tightly to your independence, democracy, and national will in parliament.

“With this attitude, you have changed Turkey’s fortune, and demonstrated a solidarity, friendship, and cooperation that will be remembered for centuries to come. Thus, this Parliament deserves the greatest praise after our nation,” he said.

The premier also declared July 15 a “day of democracy.”

“Those who attempted this coup, and tried to overthrow the public, ended up being the target and were overthrown themselves.

“From now on July 15 is a day of guarding, and watching over democracy. It is the day of democracy,” he said, calling the involved members of the army “not soldiers, but terrorists and murderers disguised as soldiers.”

Main opposition CHP Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu denounced what he termed an “attack on democracy.”

“On behalf of my party, and all our supporters who voted for us, and the citizens of the Turkish Republic, I curse yesterday’s attack on democracy,” he said, further praising the public “who took to the streets and exercised their right to revolt against the [attempted] coup.”

Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet Bahceli said what happened on Friday night was not just a coup attempt but “also a treacherous and bloody terrorist attack.”

“This attack was committed by a small group within the Turkish military, who was either beguiled or already thirsty for this. Democracy almost fell off a cliff,” he said.

On Friday night, renegade elements within Turkey’s military attempted to stage a coup against the government.

Although the coup was soon put down by the country’s legitimate authorities and security apparatus, roughly 160 people were martyred in the violence, according to Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.