According to organizers, around 50,000 gathered on the banks of the Rhine despite heavy rain to mark the Turkish people’s victory over the military attempt to oust the government. Police put the figure at around 30,000.
“The Turkish people showed courage and honor, they stopped tanks on the streets,” the organizers said in a statement. “This will always be remembered as a heroic, glorious struggle of the Turkish people for peace, democracy and freedoms.”
Ethnic Turks from Germany and neighboring countries attended the rally and called on the EU to show solidarity with Turkey, chanting their support for democracy and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
More than 100 Turkish organizations from across the political spectrum joined the rally, which was organized by the non-partisan Platform for Democracy.
Turkish Youth and Sports Minister Akif Cagatay Kilic told the audience that both the AK Party and the opposition had united against the coup attempt.
“When the Turkish parliament was bombed by warplanes on July 15, all lawmakers were there,” he said. “They were united, they resisted together. And today here again we are all together.”
Kilic, who was born and raised in Germany, criticized the German media’s coverage of the coup attempt, accusing it of making false allegations against the Turkish government, and called for solidarity from the international community.
“We have passed an important exam,” he said. “Now our friends face an important test.”
He also criticized a German court decision not to allow Erdogan to address the rally via video link.
Chancellor Angela Merkel was among the first to condemn the coup attempt but members of her government have criticized Turkey’s response -- imposing a state of emergency and arresting 16,000 people suspected of links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization, which is said to have organized the takeover attempt.
At least 238 people were martyred and nearly 2,200 injured in the coup attempt, which the Turkish government has said was carried out by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization led by U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen.