Turkey to mark first anniversary of coup attempt

Istanbul, July 15 (IANS) Turkey was on Saturday gearing up to commemorate the first anniversary of the failed military coup attempt, with various events to take place, including the unveiling of a monument dedicated to the 249 people who lost their lives.

Saturday’s events would begin with a massive march at 3.30 p.m. to the First Bridge over the Bosporus, renamed 15 July Martyrs Bridge following last year’s failed coup, Efe news reported.

On the night of the coup bid in July last year, the bridge was the scene of deadly clashes between civilians and a unit of soldiers, who blocked the bridge with tanks.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would be visiting the bridge and meeting relatives of those who were killed in the attempt. The monument in honour of people who lost their lives during the failed coup will be unveiled at 8.30 p.m. following readings and a light show.

Huge rallies will take place later in the day, with Erdogan addressing Parliament at the exact time that it was bombed during the coup attempt. The day was declared an annual holiday, BBC reported.

The Turkish authorities accused a movement loyal to Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen of organising the July 2016 plot to bring down Erdogan.

Gulen, who remains in the US, denied any involvement. Washington had so far resisted calls from the Turkish authorities to extradite the cleric.

Since a state of emergency was declared on July 20 last year, purges were carried out to remove officials with alleged close ties to Gulen.

On Friday, a further 7,000 officials, including 2,303 police officers, were dismissed from their positions, taking the number of public employees to have lost their jobs since the failed coup to about 140,000.

Around 50,000 people remained in preventative custody awaiting trial for alleged links to the coup attempt.

–IANS

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