Turkish Americans in Boston Condemn Attempted Coup

Image Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made their presence known Sunday on Boston Common, gathering in condemnation of the attempted July 15 coup by a faction of the Turkish military. More than 200 people marched around the park and near the State House, in a show of jubilant solidarity with citizens still protesting on the streets of Turkey, said Ömür Budak, the Turkish consul general in Boston. “The rallies against the coup are still taking place,” Budak said. “We want the message to be known by the New England public that we will never let a coup be successful.”

During the tumult of the unsuccessful ouster, which left about 290 people dead, Erdoğan urged citizens to rise up against the military takeover.

His message resonated with the Turkish community in New England, which held a much smaller protest last Sunday at the Turkish Consulate General. The consulate in Boston received calls and e-mails asking it to plan Sunday’s larger event, said Budak, who addressed the group.

Thousands of people taken into custody since the attempted coup are being held in sports facilities and stables, lawyers say. Demonstrators, representing surrounding states and community groups, wore hats and shirts with the nation’s white star and crescent ensign. They waved both Turkish and American flags. and hoisted signs supporting Erdoğan.

Participants also called for the extradition of Fethullah Gülen, a cleric living in the U.S. accused of orchestrating the insurrection. Büşra Savaş, 24, lives in Istanbul but is in Boston for the summer studying English. She said she came to the protest in honor of her uncle, who she said survived a shooting by members of the military. “At first I was so sad, but afterwards, when our citizens came out to support our country, I was so happy,” Savaş said. “We came here to support our country.”

Turkey’s government made a series of drastic changes in the days following the coup attempt. It declared a three-month state of emergency, detained and fired thousands in a “purge” of domestic institutions, and seized control of thousands of establishments believed to be associated with Gülen.

Erkut Gömülü, the president of the Turkish American Cultural Society of New England, said the United States would do the same if its elected leadership were threatened in such a way.

“Many measures they’ve taken, it’s a defense of the republic and a defense of the democracy,” Gömülü said. “We may have many problems, but I think true democracies are looking for the solutions.”

(By Miguel Otárola, 

Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07