Turkey marks coup attempt anniversary

Barsaba Taglieri
Luglio 16, 2017

Accompanied by his grandchildren wearing shirts with Turkish flags and relatives of the deceased, Erdogan then joined the crowd on the bridge where he was to unveil a Martyrs' Memorial to honour those who died opposing the coup.

"If parliament passes a bill on resuming executions in Turkey., he said, "I will sign it".

In his article, the president also stressed the importance of bringing Fetullah Gülen and his followers to justice, saying evidence proves they were behind the foiled coup. After a special session of parliament starting at 1000 GMT, most of the celebrations will be taking place deep into the night. "These terrorist organizations and other are not only comprised of what you can see when you look at them, we know this very well", Erdogan said.

Thousands of supporters of the President took to the streets to resist the attempted military coup exactly one year ago - 250 of them were killed.

Turkey's opposition put political disputes aside on the night of the putsch but the scale of the purge has intensified political divisions.

In his Saturday address, Erdogan slammed Kilicdaroglu for repeatedly claiming that the government knew about the coup attempt in advance but it failed to stop it and called those remarks disrespectful and insulting.

The events provided at least a momentary sense of unity in polarized Turkey: a shared shock and revulsion at the willingness of soldiers to crush people under armored vehicles and strafe crowds from the air with cannon fire.

The coup bid also frayed ties between the United States and European Union with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member Turkey, which accused its allies of failing to show solidarity.

In the latest dismissals ordered just hours before the commemorations were due to begin, another 7,563 police, soldiers and other state employees were fired under the state of emergency that has been in place since July 20 a year ago.

The bridge was the scene of clashes between civilians and soldiers in tanks. Giant posters designed by the presidency have sprung up across billboards in Istanbul showing gaudy paintings that portray the key events of the coup night, including the surrender of the putschist soldiers. A dozen of the party's parliamentarians, including its co-leaders, are in prison. The coup plotters declared their seizure of power on the state broadcaster, bombed the country's parliament and other key locations, and raided an Aegean resort where Erdogan had been on vacation.

Teachers, academics, military and police officers were sacked late Friday, including former Istanbul governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu who was jailed last August for alleged links to US -based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The country imposed a state of emergency following the coup, allowing the government to rule by decrees.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: "I reiterate my strong message that any attempt to undermine democracy in any of our allied countries is unacceptable".

Gulen has denied the allegations.

Heeding a call by the president and ignoring a curfew announced by the coup plotters, thousands of people went out on the streets to resist the coup. Some 250 people were killed and more than 2,000 were injured.

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