Turkey president’s backers cheer as critics fear for democracy

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ISTANBUL — Hundreds assembled in the city’s main Taksim Square Sunday night to show their support for President Recep Erdoğan, who urged people to come out and display their loyalty a day after his government thwarted a military coup attempt.

“People from all walks of life are here, and we are happy because the coup failed,” said Recep Alpay, 42. “For one week or 10 days we’ll be celebrating in the streets.”

Some demonstrators wore baggy pants common during the Ottoman Empire that preceded the Turkish Republic in the 1920s. Erdoğan has vowed to restore Turkey to the greatness and international stature that the empire once enjoyed.

Others donned headbands that were red and white, the colors of the Turkish national flag. Roving bands of young men chanted “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) in the streets, and buses were filled with more women wearing Islamic veils than is typical in this Muslim but traditionally secular country. The government waived public transportation fares for the day to help people travel to assemblies.

“You will fill up the squares. …This is not just a 12-hour operation,” Erdoğan said at Istanbul’s Fatih Mosque during a funeral for people killed during the attempted coup, according to The Hürriyet Daily News. “We will continue determinedly.” The government said nearly 300 were killed during the failed takeover that began late Friday night.

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