Turkey sacks 7400 civil servants on anniversary of coup

Amos Gonzales
July 16, 2017

Turkey's top cleric recited a prayer for the victims.

It "isn't just important for Turkey but for democracy everywhere", Erdo─čan said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he wants hundreds of people who are on trial for plotting last year's failed coup to appear in court wearing the same type of outfit - similar to those that were worn by detainees at Guantanamo. Marches will also be taking place in Ankara.

"Today is the day the country was saved", Ibrahim Agagul said as he looked at the pictures Saturday outside an Istanbul municipal building where 20 people were killed.

Thousands of supporters of the President took to the streets to resist the attempted military coup exactly one year ago - 250 of them were killed.

Over the past year, Erdogan and his government have clamped down on civil liberties across Turkey, gutted public institutions and universities, heavily restricted the media and ordered mass arrests of activists, journalists and the political opposition.

Thousands of people are marching from several Istanbul neighborhoods to converge at the iconic July 15 Martyrs' Bridge in a "national unity march" to commemorate the anniversary of Turkey's failed coup attempt. Thirty-five coup plotters also died in clashes.

OZAN KOSE

President Erdogan's government dismissed teachers, academics, military and police officers for alleged links to terror groups, bringing the total number of coup-related dismissals to 110,000. Gulen has always denied involvement and in a new statement Friday said the accusations were "baseless, politically motivated slanders" and slammed a "witch hunt" of Erdogan's critics.

Tens of thousands carrying the Turkish flag and chanting "we are soldiers of Tayyip (Erdogan)" gathered on the bridge, which has since been renamed Bridge of the Martyrs of July 15. A dozen of the party's parliamentarians, including its co-leaders, are in prison.

He also called for full clarity over what happened on the night of July 15, with questions still remaining over when the authorities first found out an uprising was afoot. Giant posters designed by the presidency have sprung up across billboards in Istanbul showing gaudy paintings that portray the key events of the coup night, including the surrender of the putschist soldiers. The coup plotters bombed the country's parliament and other state buildings.

A state of emergency that gives the government extraordinary powers has remained in effect for nearly a year, prompting critics to charge that Erdogan seized on the coup attempt to bolster his power.

Teachers, academics, military and police officers were sacked late Friday, including former Istanbul governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu who was jailed last August for alleged links to USA -based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

"The July 15 coup attempt is not the first attack against our country, and it won't be the last", he said, referring to a series of terror attacks that also hit the country.

The president underlined that the thwarting of the coup marked a "turning point in the history of democracy", adding that it would be a source of hope and inspiration for all people who live under a dictatorship.

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