Turkey marks year since 'epic' coup defeat

The Latest: Erdogan returns to Turkey's capital for ceremony

Turkey marks year since 'epic' coup defeat

In the wake of the failed coup bid, authorities embarked on the biggest purge in Turkey's history, arresting 50,000 people and sacking nearly three times as many.

Two hundred and forty nine people, not including the plotters, were killed when a disgruntled faction in the army sent tanks into the streets and war planes into the sky in a violent bid to overthrow Erdogan after one-and-a-half decades in power.

In the latest government decree published Friday evening, 7,395 more state employees were fired, including teachers, academics, military and police officers, bringing the number of dismissed to more than 110,000.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he wants hundreds of people who are on trial for plotting last year's failed coup to appear in court wearing the same type of outfit - similar to those that were worn by detainees at Guantanamo.

But the purge, as well as a wave of 50,000 arrests alongside it, have galvanised opposition.

Tens of thousands carrying the Turkish flag and chanting "we are soldiers of Tayyip (Erdogan)" gathered on the bridge, which has since been renamed Bridge of the Martyrs of July 15.

On July 15, 2016, people took over a tank near the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge.

OZAN KOSE
Turkey marks year since 'epic' coup defeat

That unity, though, has dissipated as the government cast a wide net in pursuit of its enemies, sweeping up the failed coup's alleged accomplices but also dissidents. 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.

The names of those people killed were read out and their pictures were also shown on big screens. "Over the past year, the judicial proceedings... moved outside the framework of the law", Kilicdaroglu, whose party will boycott commemoration ceremonies later in the day, told parliament.

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.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday used the first anniversary of a coup attempt against his government to accuse his main political opponent of treason and portray civilian resistance to the plot as a triumph of the Muslim faithful. He has denied the allegations. 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.

The president underlined that the thwarting of the coup marked a "turning point in the history of democracy", adding that it would be a source of hope and inspiration for all people who live under a dictatorship.

In the aftermath of the coup attempt, Turkey declared a state of emergency that has been in place ever since, which has allowed the government to rule by decree and to dismiss tens of thousands of people from their jobs.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg paid homage to those who lost lives resisting the coup and said attempts to undermine democracy in any one of the allied nations was "unacceptable".

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