Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived at a massive rally of hundreds of thousands of people in Istanbul on Sunday to protest last month's failed coup attempt by elements of the Turkish military.

Television images showed Erdogan's presidential helicopter landing at the site of the rally in the district of Yenikapi on the Sea of Marmara coast on the European side of the city.

Hosted by Erdogan, the "Democracy and Martyrs' Rally" is expected to be the largest demonstration since the July 15 coup, which was averted in no small part by citizens who took to the streets to block the rogue soldiers.

It will be attended by the ruling conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP), along with two opposition parties - the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and centre-left Republican People's Party (CHP).

The head of the CHP and leader of the opposition, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, and MHP chief, Devlet Bahceli, both accepted Erdogan's invitation to attend the rally.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), the third largest party in parliament, was not invited, as Erdogan accuses it of ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

From the outset all parties in parliament opposed the coup, which left at least 260 people dead and prompted the government to announce a state of emergency. Erdogan blames his former ally turned arch enemy Fethullah Gulen for organizing the coup.

All three opposition parties also voiced concern that they were not consulted about structural reforms for the armed forces, including bringing them under more civilian control.

Some opposition members and rights groups like Amnesty International have also expressed worries about human rights violations and abuses of power in recent weeks.

The Turkish authorities said more than 60,000 government workers have been suspended or fired in the wake of the coup as it purges alleged supporters of Gulen. Some 20,000 teachers have also lost their licences. 

More than 25,000 people have been detained, over 13,000 of whom have been formally arrested.

Gulen - a Turkish-born Islamic cleric living in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999 who has a large global following which runs schools, businesses and charities - denies the charges.

Critics of Erdogan, many of whom warned about the Gulenist movement for years, say the ruling party helped place followers of the cleric into the state bureaucracy. They then used these position to carry out the coup, they say. Erdogan himself has admitted he was fooled by Gulen.

Turkish officials are demanding Gulen's extradition, but no official request has been filed to the United States. The matter is causing tensions in the relations between Ankara and Washington.

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.