Turkey marks year since coup de­feat

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

wake of the coup bid, echo­ing a re­frain he has re­peated time and again ever since.

In the crowd, some were seen hold­ing nooses as they chanted “We want death penalty!”

The Euro­pean Union has threat­ened to end Turkey’s ac­ces­sion bid if it moves to rein­tro­duce the cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment that was abol­ished in 2004.

Say­ing that ter­ror or­ga­ni­za­tions have been used as pawns in the coup plot like those on the chess­board, Er­do­gan vowed to “chop off the heads of those traitors” as “with­out beat­ing the pawns we can­not say check­mate”.

In the later speech to thou­sands out­side par­lia­ment in Ankara which was bombed by war­planes that night, Er­do­gan de­claimed “our na­tion showed the whole world what a na­tion we are on July 15”.

The crowds later made their way to the palace where dozens had camped out­side for the fi­nal of­fi­cial event dur­ing which Er­do­gan in­au­gu­rated a mon­u­ment to the vic­tims which has peo­ple hold up the cres­cent and star sym­bols of the Turk­ish flag.

‘I would stay out again’

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

But they were thwarted within hours as the au­thor­i­ties re­grouped and peo­ple poured into the streets in sup­port of Er­do­gan, who blamed fol­low­ers of his ally-turned­neme­sis, the US-based preacher Fethul­lah Gulen.

“Did my ci­ti­zens have weapons? They had their flags like to­day but they had a more ef­fi­cient weapon: their faith,” Er­do­gan said in Istanbul.

Mu­rat, an Er­do­gan sup­porter at the Ankara rally, said: “If that hap­pened once more, I would stay out again. That night, it was like a war. We take own­er­ship of this coun­try and this peo­ple.”

In the wake of the failed coup bid, au­thor­i­ties em­barked on the big­gest purge in Turkey’s his­tory, ar­rest­ing 50,000 peo­ple and sack­ing al­most three times as many. Er­do­gan also shored up his po­si­tion by win­ning a ref­er­en­dum on en­hanc­ing his pow­ers ear­lier this year.

In the lat­est dis­missals, an­other 7,563 po­lice, sol­diers and other state em­ploy­ees were fired late on Fri­day un­der the state of emer­gency that has been in place since July 20 last year.

Er­do­gan said a de­ci­sion would be made on Mon­day over whether to rec­om­mend ex­tend­ing the emer­gency by an­other three months.

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