Erdogan threatens to 'chop off traitors' heads' in coup bid anniversary speech

Faith Castro
July 16, 2017

In the wake of the failed coup bid, authorities embarked on the biggest purge in Turkey's history, arresting 50,000 people and sacking nearly three times as many.

President Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan asked western leaders to make a choice between Turkey and terrorist organizations in an article he wrote for British daily the Guardian.

In the latest dismissals, another 7,563 police, soldiers and other state employees were fired late Friday under the state of emergency that has been in place since July 20 a year ago. (YASIN AKGUL / AFP/Getty Images) Pro-Erdogan supporters gathered at Taksim square in Istanbul to support the government following a failed coup attempt on July 16, 2016.

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

"If parliament passes a bill on resuming executions in Turkey., he said, "I will sign it".

The Bosporus Bridge, now called the July 15 Martyrs' Bridge, was the scene of clashes between civilians and soldiers in tanks.

OZAN KOSE

A stream of light beams into the sky, from the ceremony to commemorate the one year anniversary of the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt, close to the July 15 Martyrs' Bridge in Istanbul, late Saturday, July 15, 2017.

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. The government is organising a "national unity march" at the iconic bridge where putschists shot civilians in Istanbul.

Mentioning about his visit to Ankara in the aftermath of the coup attempt he said: "I still remember the shock I felt seeing the damage inflicted at the parliament building by the bombardments of the coup plotters". The soldiers surrendered at daybreak. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended a special session in parliament to mark one year of the coup attempt. A dozen of the party's parliamentarians, including its co-leaders, are in prison. The coup plotters bombed the country's parliament and other state buildings.

The attempted coup took place July 15, 2016, undertaken by a faction of the military Tanks rolled into the streets of Turkey's two largest cities, Ankara and Instanbul. More than 50,000 people have also been arrested for alleged links to USA -based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey blames for orchestrating the failed coup, and other terror groups. Gulen has always denied involvement in 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.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg paid homage to those who lost lives resisting the coup and said attempts to undermine democracy in any one of the allied nations was "unacceptable".

The president underlined that the thwarting of the coup marked a "turning point in the history of democracy", adding that it would be a source of hope and inspiration for all people who live under a dictatorship. Some 250 people were killed and more than 2,000 were injured.

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