Victory for Democracy: Turks Turn Back on Coups

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Millions of Turkish and non-Turkish lined up the streets of all the 81 provinces of Turkey to commemorate the second edition of “Victory Day”, following the 15th July 2016 abortive coup staged by FETO a terrorist organisation outlawed in the country. The event also marked the commemoration of the fallen heroes who died while protecting democracy against the coup plotters.

The biggest gathering was held on the Asian side of Istanbul, where millions, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, marched to the city’s iconic July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge. Spanning 1,560 meters long and 165 meters tall on the Bosporus Strait, this bridge which opened in October 1973 and connects Europe and Asia was the scene on the night of July 15, 2016, when a small military junta, accused of being members of the Gulenist Terror Group (FETO), tried to overthrow the democratically elected government and assassinate President Erdogan. Snipers, gunshots and tanks on the bridge massacred dozens who rushed to the bridge to prevent coup plotters from controlling the bridge at midnight before the soldiers surrendered. The coup plotters, who used heavy weaponry, including fighter jets, helicopters and tanks, against pro-democracy people that poured onto streets, ended up killing 250 people.

Speaking at the Bridge, President Edorgan hailed the maturity of Turkey’s democracy culminating in the abortive coup, noting that the country of nearly 80 million people has closed the dark chapter on coups, a trend that was happening on average every 10 years. “The FETO terrorist organisation aimed to harm Turkey’s unity and future, just like the PKK and Daesh terrorist organisations,” President Edorgam said, amid anti terrorist chants from the crowd calling for a death penalty against the plotters.

Turkey said FET0, which posed as a charity with religious undertones for decades, is a terrorist group with infiltrators everywhere, from law enforcement to the judiciary and football. Prominent ex-national team players Hasan Sas and Hakan Suker are both on self-imposed exile because they are wanted in the country for links to the group.

Author: Baboucarr Camara in Istanbul, Turkey