Ten of thousands of Turks stage a mass rally in Istanbul in a show of solidarity with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan following a failed coup in July. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NATURAL (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Hundreds of thousands of Turks gathered in Istanbul on Sunday (August 7) summoned by President Tayyip Erdogan to denounce a failed coup - a show of strength staged in the face of Western criticism of widespread purges and detentions. The "Democracy and Martyrs' Rally" at the Yenikapi parade ground, built into the sea on the southern edge of Istanbul's historic peninsula, caps three weeks of nightly demonstrations by Erdogan's supporters, many wrapped in the red Turkish flag, in squares around the country. The vast majority of those gathering for the rally were Erdogan supporters, some with banners reading "You are a gift from god, Erdogan" or "Order us to die and we will do it". Erdogan has vowed to rid Turkey of the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose followers in the security forces, judiciary and civil service he accuses of orchestrating the attempted power grab and of plotting to overthrow the state. The cleric was an ally of Erdogan in the early years after his AK Party was elected in 2002. He has denied the charges and denounced the coup which came at a critical time for NATO "frontline" state Turkey, facing as it does Islamist militant attacks from across the border in Syria and from Kurdish rebels. The possibility of Turkey bringing back capital punishment for the plotters of the attempted coup that killed more than 230 people and wounded more than 2,000, has put further strain on Ankara's relationship with the EU, which it seeks to join. On Sunday, rally-goers called on President Erdogan to restore capital punishment. Tens of thousands of people have been suspended, detained or placed under investigation since the plot - including soldiers, police, judges, journalists, medics and civil servants - prompting concern among Western allies that Erdogan is using the events to tighten his grip on power. Turkish officials have angrily rejected suggestions that the purges are out of proportion, accusing Western critics of failing to grasp the magnitude of the threat to the Turkish state and of being more concerned about the rights of coup plotters than the brutality of the events themselves.