Turkey marks July 15 with calls for ‘unity and solidarity’
The Turkish state aims to “keep alive the spirit of national unity that flowered in the face of the defeated July 15, 2016 coup,” Turkey’s parliament speaker Binalı Yıldırım said on July 15.
“Our aim is to keep the spirit of July 15 alive and make the brotherhood, unity, and solidarity of 81 million everlasting,” Yıldırım told reporters following his visit to the Karşıyaka Martyrs’ Cemetery in the capital Ankara.
“We commemorate with mercy and gratitude, our martyrs, who devotedly, willingly sacrificed their lives on July 15 in defense of our land,” he added.
Turkey marks the historic day as Democracy and National Unity Day with events to commemorate those who lost their lives beating back the putschists.
The July 15 Martyrs Bridge on the Bosphorus, one of the flashpoints of the clashes between the people resisting the coup and the putschists, was closed to traffic after 2 p.m. local time due to commemoration ceremonies.
Remembrance events have been held in all provinces of Turkey and Turkish embassies worldwide.
Hulusi Akar, the incumbent defense minister and former Chief of Turkish General Staff, paid a visit to the graves of Colonel Sait Ertürk and Sergeant Bülent Aydın in the military cemetery in Ankara’s distirct of Cebeci. Ertürk was killed on July 15, 2016 in Istanbul while making efforts to maintain order among the military units in Turkey’s metropolis. Aydın, murdered in the Turkish General Staff headquarters, has been recorded as the first victim of the coup plotters.
Some 251 people were killed and nearly 2,200 others were injured during the coup attempt that started in the evening on July 15, 2016 and was defeated in the early hours of the next day.
Ankara has since blamed U.S.-based Fethullah Gülen and his Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) for attempting to overthrow the government.