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    Turkish NGOs decide to relaunch anti-government demonstrations

    Hurriyet Daily News
    22.04.2009 - 15:33 | Son Güncelleme:

    ISTANBUL - A number of Turkish non-governmental organizations, or NGO, decided to protest the controversial coup probe by revivng the mass demonstrations held in 2007 in which the government was protested over its anti-secular activities.

    The first demonstration, named as "Republic Mitings" will be held on May 17 in Sihhiye Square of the capital Ankara, the Turkish TV channels and the news agencies reported Wednesday.

     

    In 2007, millions of Turks attended three demonstrations held in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir after the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, showed the then Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, whose wife wears Islamic headscarf, as a presidential candidate.

     

    The demonstrators chanted protest slogans, "Turkey is secular and remain secular" and carried banners declaring, "No to Sharia, No to Military Coups."

     

    The theme of the meetings in 2009 is determined as the controversial Ergenekon operation.

     

    The so-called Ergenekon probe, which began in 2007 with discovery of 27 hand grenades in a shanty house in Istanbul's Umraniye district, has led to the discovery of several other weapons caches.

     

    Initially hailed as a success, the operation has recently come under mounting criticism after prosecutors began targeting anti-government journalists, academics, intellectuals and executives of NGOs who became targets of the probe.

     

    Critics accuse the government of using the investigation as a witch hunt instrument to bully and silence ruling AKP opponents.

     

    * Picture is an archive image taken in May 2007 in the Republic Miting held in Izmir by Dogan News Agency.

     

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