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Political Polarization Deepens in Turkish Commemoration of Defeated Coup


Political Polarization Deepens in Turkish Commemoration of Defeated Coup

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has inaugurated a monument to commemorate the 250 people who died opposing a military coup a year ago .

The monument opposite Erdogan’s huge presidential palace depicts Turkey’s national symbol, the moon and crescent.

With tens of thousands of people attending, the inauguration ceremony after dawn prayers Sunday was called from presidential palace’s mosque.

“Be sure, that none of the traitors who point a gun at our country, nation, freedom and future will ever see the light of day again,” Erdogan promised the cheering crowd. “[Those who carried out the coup] will die over and over again every day while they rot behind prison walls,” Erdogan added.

The main event of the two day commemoration was held late Saturday at Istanbul’s July 15th Martyrs bridge. The bridge was the scene of some of worst violence, during the failed coup with soldiers opening fire on crowds opposing the takeover, killing 36.

“We will rip off the heads of those who carried out the coup,” Erdogan declared to hundreds of thousands of people who gathered at the bridge. He called on parliament to reintroduce the death penalty, saying he would immediately sign the legislation, claiming the feelings and sensibilities of those killed during the failed military take over had to be respected.

On the night of July 15th, 2016, rogue military elements sought to seize power. Along with 250 people killed, more than 2,000 were injured resisting the take over.

During that night tanks mowed down people resisting and soldiers shot at crowds answering Erdogan’s call to resist. In the capital, Ankara, jets bombed the parliament and helicopter gunships strafed police and security headquarters.

Commemorations Saturday extended into early hours Sunday. People making mobile telephone calls around midnight heard an Erdogan speech instead of ring tones.

“The coup soldiers disgraced themselves when bombing the parliament as our lawmakers stood higher,” Erdogan said to the large crowd waving Turkish flags. The ceremony was boycotted by the main opposition Republican People’s Party, who complained at being excluded from speaking at the ceremony, according to VOA

The boycott underlined the divisive acrimonious atmosphere the commemorations were held in. Earlier Saturday, CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, slammed the president for the ongoing post coup crackdown, claiming it was more about silencing legitimate critics, Kilicdaroglu raised questions whether Erdogan had foreknowledge of the coup calling it a “controlled coup.”


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