Turkey marks a year since the failed coup

  • 16/07/2017
Turks celebrate year on from coup attempt
Along with a groundswell of nationalism, the coup's greatest legacy has been the far-reaching crackdown. Photo credit: Reuters

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan and members of the opposition have come together to mark the anniversary of last year's failed coup, a moment of ceremonial unity amidst the sweeping purges of an ongoing crackdown.

The gathering in parliament was one of the first in a string of events planned through the weekend to commemorate the night of July 15.

On that night thousands of unarmed civilians took to the streets to defy rogue soldiers who commandeered tanks and warplanes and bombed parliament in an attempt to seize power.

More than 240 people died before the coup was put down, a show of popular defiance that has likely ended decades of military interference in Turkish politics.

But along with a groundswell of nationalism, the coup's greatest legacy has been the far-reaching crackdown.

Some 150,000 people have been sacked or suspended from jobs in the civil service and private sector and more than 50,000 detained for alleged links to the attempted putsch.

On Friday the government dismissed another 7000 police, civil servants and academics for suspected links to US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen who it blames for the takeover bid.

"Our people did not leave sovereignty to their enemies and took hold of democracy to the death," Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said, as Mr Erdogan and members of opposition parties looked on.

"These monsters will surely receive the heaviest punishment they can within the law."

Critics, including rights groups and some Western governments, say Mr Erdogan is using the post-coup state of emergency to target opposition figures including rights activists, pro-Kurdish politicians and journalists.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party was represented by its deputy chairman as the party's two co-leaders are in jail - as are local members of rights group Amnesty International and nearly 160 journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

At the parliamentary ceremony, the head of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) decried what he said was the erosion of democracy following the coup.

"This parliament, which withstood bombs, has been rendered obsolete and its authority removed," said Kemal Kilicdaroglu, in a reference to an April referendum that Erdogan narrowly won, giving him sweeping executive powers.

"In the past year, justice has been destroyed. Instead of rapid normalisation, a permanent state of emergency has been implemented."