Thousands rally in Ankara to support secularism

NKARA, Turkey

Tens of thousands of people marched in Ankara on Sunday (May 17th) in support of secularism and against the scores of recent arrests stemming from the controversial Ergenekon probe.

Detainees include university professors, journalists, intellectuals and army officers. Authorities said at least 30,000 chanting protesters gathered in downtown Ankara waving Turkish flags and carrying posters depicting the nation’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Demonstrators demanded Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s resignation over “violations of Turkey’s secular principles”. Police have detained dozens of suspects across the country over the past several months for their alleged involvement in the Ergenekon network.

The shadowy secularist group is accused of having planned bombings and assassinations of high-profile politicians and public figures to incite chaos and overthrow Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party government.

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