Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivering strong messages on the one-year anniversary of a failed coup aimed at unseating him lauded the popular resistance that helped stop the coup, and promised to decapitate “traitors,” a sign that his harsh crackdown against his foes over the last 12 months will continue.
Mr Erdogan told the vast, flag-waving crowd the attempt to end his more than a decade-long rule was “not the first attack against our country, and it won’t be the last”.
Mr Erdogan took part in a national unity march in Istanbul, converging at the July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge, formally called the Bosphorus Bridge, to remember 250 people who died on this day last year trying to resist the coup.
The bridge was the scene of clashes between civilians and soldiers in tanks. At least 30 people died there and more than 2,000 were injured across Turkey in the struggle. Thirty-five coup plotters were also killed.
Speaking to hundreds of thousands of people at a massive ceremony in Istanbul, Erdogan urged vigilance against lurking enemies and declared that last summer’s bloody ordeal emboldened the nation.
The country has remained in a state of emergency while allowing Erdogan to tighten his grip on power and oversee a massive purge of those who he says rose up against him.
In the latest government decree published Friday evening, 7,395 more state employees were fired, including teachers, academics, military and police officers, bringing the number of dismissed to more than 110,000.