Millions of people began marking the first year anniversary of the failed coup attempt in all 81 provinces, with people in Istanbul gathering on July 15 Martyrs Bridge, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said citizens had beaten well-equipped coup soldiers thanks to their belief.
July 15 Martyrs Bridge, previously called Bosphorus Bridge, was blocked by coup plotters during last year’s thwarted coup and 34 people were killed by coup soldiers.
“Did our citizens have guns in their hands,” said Erdogan, who marched toward the bridge from his residence in Kisikli with the families of the coup night victims, while addressing hundreds of thousands of people late on July 15.
“Just like today, they only had flags in their hands. But they had an even stronger gun. Their belief,” he said, naming the coup soldiers “unbelievers.”
Citizens watched the ceremony and Erdogan’s speech online on wide screens at city centers across the country, Hurriyet daily reported.
Erdogan called main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu a “coward” for not hitting the street during the coup attempt, but “watching the incidents on TV at a house in Istanbul.”
“I would not call him to Yenikapi rally if I had known,” referring to an August 9, 2016 rally of unity and solidarity, which was attended by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the CHP, and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Erdogan once again slammed Kilicdaroglu for naming the attempt a “controlled coup.”
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Erdogan accuse the faith-based Gulen movement of orchestrating the coup attempt.
Fethullah Gulen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdogan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting participants of the Gulen movement in jails.
Turkey’s Justice Ministry has announced that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since a failed coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016.
According to data released by the Justice Ministry on Thursday, there are outstanding detention warrants for 8,087 individuals, 152 of whom are military officers, 392 are police officers and three are governors.
Among the arrestees are 169 generals, 7,089 colonels and 24 governors.
A total of 2,431 members of the Turkish judiciary are also among those arrested in the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt, while 265 of them are at large.
More than 23,427 academics have been affected by a state of emergency (OHAL) that was declared following the failed coup attempt, according to a BBC Turkish report.
Around 160 media outlets were closed down and 2,500 journalists or media workers were sacked from their jobs in Turkey in the aftermath of the coup.
The AKP government has seized about 1,000 companies with a total value of TL 41 billion since the failed coup attempt.
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