Turkey is commemorating the first anniversary of the quashed military coup that sought to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with a series of events honouring some 250 people who were killed on July 15, 2016, while trying to stop the insurrection.
The coup attempt was the greatest challenge to the rule of Erdogan, who has been in power since 2003, first as prime minister and later as president. After crushing the attempted takeover, Erdogan went on to win a referendum in April that will considerably extend the powers of his office, a move that has raised fear among opponents who say he has become increasingly authoritarian.
The rebellion unfolded on a Friday evening when a group of military officers commandeered warplanes, helicopters and tanks to attack key government buildings in the capital, including parliament and the presidential palace complex. They held Istanbul’s main bridge and square, attacked some government buildings and tried to overtake television stations. They also tried to capture or kill the president, who was in vacation at a Mediterranean resort at the time. Heeding a call by Erdogan broadcast on CNN-Turk through a video app, thousands of people took to the streets to stop the tanks and soldiers. Police and officers loyal to the government put down the coup, which did not have support in the military’s top echelons, within hours.
Erdogan's Coup | New report shows that Erdogan orchestrated July 2016 Coup as a false flag ended up he became an ultimate ruler of Turkey. pic.twitter.com/tTAPLpE4cx— Turkey Deeply (@TurkeyDeeply) July 6, 2017
ONE YEAR AFTER THE COUP | Erdogan Regime Human Rights violations in Turkey are in world press! pic.twitter.com/F2DPoX3geY — Turkey Deeply (@TurkeyDeeply) July 13, 2017
More than 2,000 people were injured in the streets, in addition to the 250 people who died and now are hailed as “martyrs” of the coup. The dead include 53 special operations police who were killed in an attack on their headquarters in Ankara. Some 30 coup plotters are also believed to have died during their failed attempt.
Erdogan is set to unveil a large monument for the “martyrs” opposite his palace in Ankara and another near Istanbul’s former Bosporus Bridge, which has been renamed as the “July 15 Martyrs Bridge” to honour the people who died resisting the coup.
The government has blamed the coup on the influential movement led by US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally who ran a network of schools, dormitories, media outlets and universities. Gulen’s followers are accused of infiltrating state institutions over decades to carry out the insurgency.
A year after the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, two Istanbul residents tell their stories from that nighthttps://t.co/EXEs0BtoKg pic.twitter.com/Df995j1rTQ — TRT World (@trtworld) July 14, 2017