Turkey's Erdogan lays wreath on anniversary of coup, following hundreds of arrests

Turkey's Erdogan lays wreath on anniversary of coup, following hundreds of arrests
Turkey marks the fourth anniversary of a failed coup attempt in the country.
2 min read
Erdogan places flowers on the wreath [Getty]

Turkey is marking the fourth anniversary of the July 15 failed coup attempt against the government, with ceremonies and events remembering its victims.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, accompanied by civilian “veterans” who fought against the coup, laid a wreath at a memorial in the presidential complex in Ankara and prayed.

Erdogan was kicking off a series of events to commemorate the crushing of the coup, including one at parliament. Attendees were wearing masks as the event took place amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

On July 15, 2016, factions within the military used tanks, warplanes and helicopters to try to overthrow Erdogan’s government.

A total of 251 people were killed and around 2,200 others were wounded as the coup plotters fired on people or bombed parliament and other government buildings. Around 35 alleged coup plotters were also killed.

Turkey has blamed U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally, for the coup attempt. Gulen rejects the accusation.

Gulen has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999.

The government declared a state of emergency after the coup attempt to crackdown on Gulen’s network, which is considered to be a terror group.

Under emergency powers that were in place for two years, tens of thousands of people were arrested for alleged links to the coup and to Gulen and the trials continue.

More than 130,000 people were fired from public service through emergency decrees, among them teachers and police officers.

Critics say the arrests and dismissals went too far, targeting all opposition to the government under Turkey’s wide terror laws.

Prosecutors in Istanbul issued warrants last month for the detention of 118 military personnel over their suspected links to a US-based Muslim cleric as authorities pressed ahead with a crackdown on a network Turkey blames for a failed coup attempt in 2016.

The state-run Anadolu Agency said 72 of the suspects were detained in simultaneous raids in 35 provinces across Turkey for alleged ties to cleric Fethullah Gulen's network.

Police were searching for 46 other suspects, the agency reported.

The agency said 98 of the suspects targeted by the warrants are currently serving in the military and two of them are civilians.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected