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Turkey marks first anniversary of defeating coup bid

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-07-17 09:14

Turkey marks first anniversary of defeating coup bid

People attend a rally to mark the first anniversary of foiling the failed coup attempt in Istanbul, Turkey, July 15, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

ANKARA - Tens of thousands of Turks have taken to the streets from Saturday evening till Sunday morning to mark the first anniversary of defeating the coup attempt last year.

Week-long series of memorials and celebrations took place to remember the attempted putsch, the most serious threat to the ruling Justice and Development Party since it took power in 2002.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government declared July 15 "Democracy and National Unity day."

On Saturday, thousands of people flocked to main squares nationwide, with crowds gathering on July 15 Martyrs Bridge in Istanbul, previously called Bosphorus Bridge, which was blocked by coup plotters during the early hours of the coup attempt.

People were carrying Turkish flags and pictures of those killed during the coup attempt. Some were chanting 'We want death penalty."

Erdogan, photographed by escorted F16 jets on his aircraft, joined the crowd on the bridge where he opened a Martyrs' Memorial to honor 34 people died on the Bosphorus Bridge resisting the coup.

Erdogan addressed early Sunday thousands of people in front of the parliament general assembly building at 2:32 a.m. local time, the time the parliament was bombed on the night of the coup attempt.

"Turkish army is more powerful today when compared to the period before July 15. Turkish army is the army of this precious nation," Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said addressing a special session at the parliament on Saturday.

Turkey experienced one of its bloody night last July 15 when the coup plotters bombed the national parliament, rated media outlets, opened fire on civilians, attacked key police headquarters with armed with tanks, warplanes and helicopters.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Hulusi Akar, and many generals were kidnapped by their own security guards.

The coup plotters failed to detain President Erdogan who was able to address his nation via FaceTime chat where he called on people to take the streets ad resist coup.

The coup was thwarted by civilians who hit the streets to stand against the putschists and by soldiers loyal to the government.

Since July 15 2016, the Turkish authorities launched a massive fight against the coup attempt, jailed over 50,000 people.

Under the state of emergency, the country went to a referendum for historical constitutional change empowering the president in a change of government system.

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