Turkey marks first anniversary of failed coup attempt

People hold Turkish flag and banners during a rally for the first anniversary of the failed

Turkey will hold a series of events on Saturday to celebrate the first anniversary of the defeat of last year’s failed coup attempt, as it sacked thousands of officials in the latest crackdown.

Ankara has declared July 15 – the day of the failed coup attempt – an annual national holiday of “democracy and unity”, billing the foiling of the putsch as a historic victory of Turkish democracy.

At least 249 people, not including the plotters, were killed when a faction in the army sent tanks into the streets and war planes into the sky in a violent bid to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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 former ally, the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, who denies involvement.

A state of emergency imposed in the wake of the failed coup still remains in place.

At least 50,000 people have been arrested and more than 100,000 have been dismissed from services over the past year.

The scale of Saturday’s nationwide commemorations is aimed at etching July 15, 2016 into the minds of Turks as a key date in the history of the modern state founded in 1923 out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire.

(Source: AFP)

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