In the aftermath of the coup attempt, Turkey declared a state of emergency that has been in place ever since
People walk towards the July 15 Martyr's bridge on a "National Unity March" to commemorate the one year anniversary of the July 15, 2016 botched coup attempt, in Istanbul, Saturday, July 15, 2017, photo: AP/Emrah Gurel
15 of July 2017 14:04:32
ISTANBUL – Waving large red Turkish flags, tens of thousands joined a national unity march in Istanbul on Saturday, converging at the iconic July 15 Martyrs' Bridge to mark the anniversary of the failed military coup attempt that 250 people died resisting.As part of the commemoration, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew to Istanbul on Saturday and was photographed waving at a fighter jet escorting his aircraft. Accompanied by children wearing shirts with Turkish flags and relatives of the deceased, Erdogan then joined the crowd near the bridge where he was to unveil a Martyr's Memorial to honor those who died opposing the coup."It has been exactly one year since Turkey's darkest and longest night was transformed into a bright day, since an enemy occupation turned into the people's legend," Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said earlier in the day at a special parliamentary session in Ankara, the capital, attended by Erdogan.Marches were also taking place in Ankara.
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. The government calls the crackdown necessary to purge state institutions of those linked to Gulen, but critics say the dismissals are arbitrary and the victims' paths to recourse severely curtailed.The U.S. State Department on Saturday issued a statement praising the bravery of the Turkish people who took to the streets to "preserve the rights and freedoms of their democratic society.""The preservation of democracy requires perseverance, tolerance, dissent and safeguards for fundamental freedoms," the agency said, warning that curbs on those key freedoms erode "the foundations of democratic society.""More voices, not fewer, are necessary in challenging times," the statement said.
What happened when?July 15, 2016 -- July 31, 2016 -->> https://t.co/vjqXkG4Mhl pic.twitter.com/EeKV9efyGd— Turkey Purge (@TurkeyPurge) 15 de julio de 2017
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg paid homage to those who lost lives resisting the coup and said attempts to undermine democracy in any one of the allied nations was "unacceptable."July 15 has been declared a national holiday in Turkey.Public transportation in Istanbul and Ankara is free over the weekend and bus destination signs displayed messages of congratulations.As they did on the night of the 2016 coup attempt, after midnight Saturday mosques across Turkey will simultaneously recite a verse, usually read before Friday prayers, to alert and invite Muslims to the streets.
We commend the bravery of all those who have taken to the streets to preserve the rights and freedoms of their democratic society. pic.twitter.com/eas3EdZKrX— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) 14 de julio de 2017
ZEYNEP BILGINSOYSUZAN FRASER