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Erdogan commemorates Turkey coup anniversary
© Mstyslav Chernov

Erdoğan commemorates Turkey coup anniversary

17/07/17Government

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has given passionate speeches to tens of thousands of people a year after the failed coup attempt.

Erdoğan praised those people, including MPs, who had defended democracy and his government.

He supported the death penalty for coup plotters and said they should wear Guantanamo Bay-style uniforms.

Nearly 250 people died and 2,196 were wounded fighting the coup attempt by an army faction on 15 July last year.

The government has since led a crackdown on alleged coup supporters, with the dismissal of more than 150,000 state employees and the arrest of some 50,000 people.

The coup failed for a number of reasons, including a lack of support in higher echelons of the armed forces and a lack of political or public backing.

Plotters tried to detain Erdoğan as he holidayed in an Aegean resort, but he had left and the coup was thwarted by loyalists.

“People that night did not have guns, they had a flag and more importantly, they had their faith,” he told thousands of supporters.

Opponents of Erdoğan boycotted the speeches, saying his government’s actions over the past year amount to an attempt to purge dissent.

Erdoğan addressed Turks who had rallied to the bridge over the Bosphorus where civilians had confronted pro-coup soldiers last year.

He said: “I am grateful to all members of my nation who defended their country.

“Putschists who closed off the bridge on that night wanted to show the world that they were in control,” he said, but were opposed by “millions who took to the streets that night to defend the honour of their nation”.

He said he would “break the heads of the traitors” who plotted the coup.

The president then unveiled a “martyrs’ memorial” at the bridge, which has been renamed the Bridge of the Martyrs of July 15.

Pan European Networks Ltd