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Turkey marks coup defeat with rallies

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Turkey marks coup defeat with rallies

Turkey on Saturday marked one year since the defeat of the failed coup bid with mass nationwide rallies seeking to showcase national unity and a stern warning by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “chop off the heads” of traitors.

The authorities declared July 15 an annual national holiday of “democracy and unity”, billing the foiling of the putsch as a historic victory of Turkish democracy.

In an intense programme aiming to hammer home the anniversary’s importance, Erdogan attended a special session of parliament in Ankara, spoke to a mass rally in Istanbul and then flew back to the capital for a rally outside parliament and a special event at the presidential palace in the early hours of the morning.

Speaking to hundreds of thousands by the bridge across the Bosphorus in Istanbul that was a fighting flashpoint, Erdogan warned Turkey could reintroduce capital punishment.

“First of all we will chop off the heads of those traitors,” Erdogan said, reaffirming he would sign any passed by parliament bill on resuming executions.

Any move to restore capital punishment — which Turkey abolished in 2004 — would effectively end Ankara’s European Union membership ambitions.

Erdogan also said the suspects being tried over the failed coup should wear uniform clothing like the notorious orange jumpsuits used at US military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

“When they appear in court, let’s make them appear in uniform suits like in Guantanamo,” Erdogan said to cheers.

Supporters chanted “we are soldiers of Tayyip (Erdogan)”, with some even brandishing nooses in a symbol of their support for the death penalty.

In the later speech to thousands outside parliament in Ankara which was bombed by warplanes that night, Erdogan declaimed “our nation showed the whole world what a nation we are on July 15.”

The crowds later made their way to the palace where dozens had camped outside for the final official event during which Erdogan inaugurated a monument to the victims which has people hold up the crescent and star symbols of the Turkish flag.

AFP

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