Hundreds of Turkish-Canadians protest failed Turkey coup

Politics that once pulled Edmonton's Turkish community apart brought hundreds together at the Alberta legislature building this weekend to protest of the failed Turkey coup.

'It's democracy, you share your opinions in the parliament, in the legislature,' protester says

Hundreds of people from Edmonton's Turkish community rallied at the Alberta legislature building Sunday to protest the coup that failed in Turkey. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

When a violent military coup broke out in Turkey four weeks ago, Zafer Koprulu rushed to call his 65-year-old mother in Istanbul.

Koprulu says she answered the phone in tears. A helicopter had landed on the roof of her home, she told him, and there was fire in her neighbourhood.

He stayed on the line with her for hours that night as the sound of gunshots punctuated their conversation. Koprulu, who lives in Edmonton, said it made him feel helpless.

"She was so much scared, crying," he said. "There was nothing I can do."

Zafer Koprulu says he spent hours on the phone with his elderly mother, who lives in Istanbul, during the attempted coup in Turkey. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

The coup crumbled into failure the next day, July 16, leaving more than 250 dead and another 1,400 injured.

Thousands flooded the streets of Istanbul three weeks later to protest the attempted overthrow of their government.

Koprulu, a member of Edmonton's Canadian-Turkish society, said he wanted to mimic their protest.

"I thought as a Turkish citizen my moment would be this, to bring all these people, gather them together and fight for our democracy," he said.

"Everybody wants to become the head of the country without democratic ways, and as a Canadian citizen I cannot accept this and as a Turkish citizen I cannot accept this."

Hundreds responded to his call, gathering into a pool of crimson flags in front of Alberta's legislature building on Sunday.

Sinem Senol says it's more important to support the process of democracy than the people elected by it. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

Sinem Senol brought her family to the protest. Although she doesn't support the current Turkish government, Senol said she does support democracy in her homeland.

"I may be against someone's political opinions, but I'm not going to fight for that with tanks and helicopters," she said. "It's democracy, you share your opinions in the parliament, in the legislature.

"You share your opinions to the public and never take arms to your own people."