Marking the first anniversary of Turkey’s failed coup, the president said the country foiled a 40-year plan to overthrow the government.
Erdogan Hails Nation For Foiling Coup Attempt
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan early Sunday applauded the nation for fighting a “gang of betrayal” during a coup attempt last July.
At a ceremony to commemorate the July 15 defeated coup in front of the parliament building, Erdogan said the country achieved a new victory by disrupting the 40-year plan of traitors in less than 20 hours.
Erdogan claims the attempted coup was orchestrated by U.S-based Fetullah Gulen and carried out by his supporters. At least 250 people were killed and 2,200 wounded in the attempt.
On the night, coup plotters in Istanbul used military tanks to close the Bosphorus bridge -- later renamed the Bridge of the Martyred of July 15.
Warplanes flew at low altitude in the skies of Istanbul and Ankara, and bombed the parliament building and the headquarters of police and intelligence agency.
But Turks showed the world what kind of nation Turkey is, according to Erdogan.
"Had my nation took arms? Had my nation marched against the scoundrels, traitors with weapons with their hands? My nation marched with their faith and flag. There is no other example of this. There is no other nation who stop bullets by their chests. There is no other nation that stop tanks with punch,” he said.
Turkey struggled against a "militarized gang of betrayal with faith in their hearts and bare hands", he said.
The president also lambasted main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) head Kemal Kilicdaroglu for his "controlled coup" remarks.
"To call this deadly attack a ‘controlled coup’ is impassiveness and unfortunateness. Otherwise, do you want this process to be continued like this?" Erdogan said.
Erdogan said the coup plotters intended to destroy the state and civilization, enslaving the country and the nation.
Kilicdaroglu has repeatedly claimed the government had advance knowledge of the coup plot but did nothing to prevent it.
In the wake of the failed overthrow, tens of thousands of suspected Gulen supporters have been arrested, including many in the military, police, judicial system, education and business sectors.
Erdogan noted that the National Security Council would discuss extending the current the state of emergency enacted following the coup bid and send its recommendation to the government Monday in favor of extension.
The coup plotters targeted symbols of Turkish democracy, Erdogan said, citing the bomb attack on parliament while lawmakers were inside.
"So, they mainly targeted the parliament building and it became the place of a major bomb attack,” he said.
In response to public demands to restore the death penalty for those found guilty of participating in the coup, Erdogan said he would not be hesitate to approve a bill if passed by parliament.
“I believe the parliament would adopt such a bill.”