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Erdogan's speech on anniversary of coup attempt highlights Turkey's divisions

16 July 2017, 05:37 | Rodolfo Wallace

Erdogan's speech on anniversary of coup attempt highlights Turkey's divisions

The Latest: Erdogan returns to Turkey's capital for ceremony

Erdogan also said the suspects being tried on suspicion of involvement in the failed coup should wear uniform clothing like the notorious orange jumpsuits used at U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay. Erdogan, at the center of the commemorations, took part in a "people's march" on the Istanbul bridge across the Bosphorus that saw some of the fiercest fighting, after arriving from Ankara on his official plane accompanied by an F-16 fighter jet.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he wants hundreds of people who are on trial for plotting last year's failed coup to appear in court wearing the same type of outfit - similar to those that were worn by detainees at Guantanamo.

In the latest dismissals ordered just hours before the commemorations were due to begin, another 7,563 police, soldiers and other state employees were fired under the state of emergency that has been in place since July 20 a year ago.

"It has been exactly one year since Turkey's darkest and longest night was transformed into a bright day, since an enemy occupation turned into the people's legend", Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Saturday in a special parliamentary session attended by Erdogan.

The coup bid also frayed ties between the United States and European Union with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member Turkey, which accused its allies of failing to show solidarity. Turkey is marking one year since the defeat of the coup aimed at ousting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, seeking to showcase national unity and his grip on power in an increasingly polarised society.

Turkey's opposition put political disputes aside on the night of the putsch but the scale of the purge has intensified political divisions. Gulen has denied the claims.

The bridge was the scene of clashes between civilians and soldiers in tanks.

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Events will be held in Turkey later to mark the anniversary of a failed coup in which at least 260 people died and 2,196 were wounded. The soldiers surrendered at daybreak. Kilicdaroglu kicked off the march after the imprisonment of one of his party's parliament members.

It "isn't just important for Turkey but for democracy everywhere", Erdoğan said. The coup plotters bombed the country's parliament and other state buildings.

Teachers, academics, military and police officers were sacked late on Friday, including former Istanbul governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu, who was jailed last August for alleged links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: "I reiterate my strong message that any attempt to undermine democracy in any of our allied countries is unacceptable".

A state of emergency that gives the government extraordinary powers has remained in effect for nearly a year, prompting critics to charge that Erdogan seized on the coup attempt to bolster his power.

In the article published Saturday on the first anniversary of the July 15 coup attempt, Erdoğan wrote that there is "no way to sugar-coat this betrayal of Turkey's friendship", adding that it is incompatible with bilateral relations and fundamental values alike.



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