Thousands celebrate at Taksim Square after failed coup attempt (VIDEO)
Several thousand people came out to Istanbul’s central Taksim Square on Saturday, celebrating the end of the attempted military coup that took the country and the rest of the world by surprise the day before.
People were seen walking down the streets, cheering and carrying national flags. Women and children also attended the celebrations.
Ruptly’s video from Taksim Square shows people singing, clapping and chanting. At another point, music was heard, as people lit up fireworks.
Earlier in the day, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan spoke to the public in Istanbul. During his speech he asked the US to not get involved and extradite or arrest the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan has accused Gulen of being behind the coup attempt.
“Dear President Obama, I told you this before, arrest Fethullah Gulen or return him to Turkey. You didn’t listen. I call you on you again, after the coup attempt – extradite this man from Pennsylvania to Turkey. If we are strategic partners, do what is necessary,” Erdogan said. He also explicitly called any nation supporting Gulen “an open enemy of Turkey.”
Gulen, the leader of the Hizmet movement, has denied Erdogan’s accusations, while US Secretary of State John Kerry asked Turkey to provide “any legitimate evidence” against Gulen.
Meanwhile, eight soldiers, who are believed to have been part of the military coup attempt, fled to Greece in a helicopter.
Another Ruptly video showed a Turkish military helicopter, which carried the eight soldiers, landing in northern Greek city of Alexandroupolis on Saturday.
Police said they have requested political asylum, but were quickly arrested.
Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told Erdogan that soldiers’ asylum requests will be quickly examined, Reuters quoted a Greek government official as saying. Tsipras also stressed that the procedure would be carried out “with absolute respect” to international law and human rights treaties.
So far, Greece has only promised to return the helicopter, in accordance with international treaties.
In one of the latest developments, Turkey ordered 2,745 judges and prosecutors to be detained in connection to Friday’s events, broadcaster NTV reported.