Erdoğan urges unity for ‘strong Turkey’
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on July 15 called on all of Turkey’s lawmakers to jointly build the 2023 and 2053 targets of his government with the “other patriots of the country.”
“Patriots of Turkey, those under the Turkish Parliament, come and let’s build our 2023 and 2053 visions together. Come, let us all together go to the bright future of Turkey. Come, let’s protect the memory of our martyrs together,” he said, addressing the July 15 Martyrs’ Monument on the occasion of the July 15 Democracy and National Unity Day.
Turkey marked the fourth anniversary of the deadly coup attempt of July 15, 2016, with a series of commemoration events honoring those who lost their lives fighting putschists. The nation held a series of events all across Turkey on “July 15 Democracy and National Unity Day” with the participation of citizens and top officials.
Erdoğan laid a wreath at a memorial in the presidential complex and prayed, accompanied by civilian “veterans’’ who fought against the coup. Erdoğan also visited parliament and laid a wreath at the site where the coup plotters bombed the compound on the night of July 15, 2016.
The president said that parliament’s coming under the attack of putschists was “not a random choice.”
Erdoğan said “there were huge accounts behind” the July 15 coup attempt and as a country and nation, “we would have been dragged into completely different points,” if they were able to accomplish the attempt.
It was “a historical breaking point,” the president said and resembled the defense of the nation against the putschists on July 15 to ones in the country’s milestone events in its centuries-old history.
“Whatever happened in Malazgirt was on July 15. What happened in the conquest of Istanbul was on July 15. What happened in Çanakkale was on July 15. Whoever is trying to belittle and discredit July 15, his aim is to overshadow the meaning of this deep history,” Erdoğan stated.
In his article published on daily Hürriyet on July 15, Erdoğan said the Turkish government has discharged FETÖ on a large scale, recalling that the group once infiltrated the state and society. “Of course, we know that tackling such an insidious and dark organization is a long and arduous process. We will keep our attention alive until the end and we will not lower our guard,” he stated.
Turkey, in the republic era, encountered similar problems that its past states experienced, he said. “Sometimes external attacks and traps, sometimes internal betrayals made our nation busy and victimized. The betrayal of July 15 was the most troublesome of the troubles we have encountered in this land for a thousand years,” the president stated.
On July 15, 2016, a group within the military used tanks, warplanes and helicopters to try to overthrow the government. A total of 251 people were killed and around 2,200 others were wounded as the coup plotters fired at people and bombed parliament and other government buildings.
Turkish Armed Forces won’t permit any ‘traitor’ to wear uniform: Defense minister
Turkey will never permit members of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) to enter the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) again, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said, while emphasizing that the fight against the group continues with determination.
“We will not allow any traitor to wear the glorious uniform of the TSK,” Akar said at a commemoration event at the Defense Ministry on July 15, the fourth anniversary of a coup attempt that Ankara blames on FETÖ.
Some 20,077 people have been expelled from the forces since the coup attempt as part of the fight against FETÖ, he stated.
Turkey has been subject to threats as the country is important in every aspect in a highly strategic region, he said, noting that FETÖ was a new-generation terrorist organization as seen in its coup attempt.
“I would proudly state that the operations Euphrates Shield, Olive Branch, Peace Spring, Peace Shield and Claw operations organized domestically and across the borders and the successes achieved in the increasing number of large exercises are the clearest indication that we became stronger as we cleared away FETÖ,” he said.
‘Walls of fear’ destroyed in judiciary
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül said July 15, 2016, was the date when the “walls of fear” were destroyed in the judiciary.
Just hours after the coup attempt ended, putschists were called to account in the courts, Gül said. The judiciary has concluded 275 of 289 coup cases and has handed down sentences to 4,130 accused, he said, noting that 2,332 suspects had been sentenced to life or aggravated life in prison.
The judiciary had also reacted to the coup attempt by “purifying itself of the traitors within,” he said, referencing how members of FETÖ infiltrated the judiciary.