US Muslims, Turks gather in Washington to protest attempted coup in Turkey
WASHINGTON – Anadolu Agency
AFP photoHundreds of Turks and U.S. Muslims gathered outside of the White House on July 17 to rally against a recent coup attempt in Turkey by a faction in the Turkish military.
“Why are we here today? Because we respect the will of the people,” Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, said amid a sea of Turkish flags and demonstrators from across the U.S. who were clad in Turkish apparel.
The Turkish government said the failed coup was organized by followers of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of a long-running campaign to overthrow the government through supporters within the Turkish state, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations Secretary General Oussama Jamal said the coup attempt “was the beginning of turning the entire region into chaos.”
“Thanks to the Turkish people, to the honorable men and women who went out to the streets to protect the Turkish democracy,” he said.
At least 164 people lost their lives fighting against the attempted coup late on July 15 in Turkey’s capital Ankara as well as Istanbul, according to preliminary reports as analyzed by Anadolu Agency.
Some 2,839 military personnel involved in the coup attempt have been detained, and 20 pro-coup soldiers, including some senior officers, were killed in the attempt to overthrow the government.