Turkey on Saturday holds an intense series of events to celebrate the first anniversary of the failed attempted coup, showcasing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s grip on power on the heels of a new purge of civil servants.
The authorities have declared July 15 an annual national holiday of “democracy and unity”, billing the foiling of the putsch as a historic victory of Turkish democracy.
Following the failed coup last summer, the authorities embarked on the biggest purge in Turkey’s history, arresting 50,000 people and sacking over 100,000 more. Erdogan also shored up his position by winning an April 16 referendum that granted him sweeping new powers.
In the latest dismissals ordered just hours before the commemorations were due to begin on Saturday, another 7,563 police, soldiers and other state employees were fired under the state of emergency that has been in place since July 20 last year.
A decree said those targeted were “linked to terror organizations, or groups determined to have been acting against the state’s national security”.
Two hundred and forty nine people, not including the plotters, were killed when a disgruntled faction in the army sent tanks into the streets and war planes into the sky in a violent bid to overthrow Erdogan after one-and-a-half decades in power.
But they were thwarted within hours as the authorities regrouped and people poured into the streets in support of Erdogan, who blamed followers of US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.
Gulen has always denied masterminding the coup bid and in a new statement Friday said the accusations were “baseless, politically motivated slanders” and slammed a “witch hunt” of Erdogan’s critics.