Turkey is holding a series of events today to mark the first anniversary of a failed coup in which at least 260 people died and 2,196 were wounded.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan early Sunday applauded the nation for fighting a “gang of betrayal” during a coup attempt last July.
At a ceremony to commemorate the July 15 defeated coup in front of the parliament building, Erdogan said the country achieved a new victory by disrupting the 40-year plan of traitors in less than 20 hours.
The government overthrow orchestrated by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader, Fetullah Gulen, martyred 250 souls and injured 2,200 others as Turks foiled the military coup with their bravery, courage, determination and patriotism.
“Had my nation took arms? Had my nation marched against the scoundrels, traitors with weapons with their hands? My nation marched with their faith and flag. There is no other example of this. There is no other nation who stop bullets by their chests. There is no other nation that stop tanks with punch,” he said.
On the night, coup plotters in Istanbul used military tanks to close the Bosphorus bridge — later renamed the Bridge of the Martyred of July 15.
An army faction tried to seize power last July but the attempt collapsed. The government has since dismissed more than 150,000 state employees, saying it is rooting out coup supporters.
Critics say the dismissals, and a wave of 50,000 arrests, are part of an attempt to purge dissent. Kicking off a series of events that will extend into dawn today, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said in a special session of parliament that 15 July 2016 was a “second War of Independence”, following the conflict that led to the creation of the modern state in the 1920s.
Mr Erdogan will attend a rally in Istanbul on the bridge across the Bosphorus where crowds confronted soldiers. It has been renamed the Bridge of the Martyrs of July 15 and the president will unveil a “martyrs’ memorial” there.