16 July Monday

A night of defiance - Rally at July 15 Martyrs' Bridge...

Turkey is marking the 2nd anniversary of the defeat of the attempted coup on July 15, 2016, in which at least 250 people were killed and over 2,000 wounded. President Erdogan joined a huge rally at the July 15 Martyrs' Bridge in Istanbul.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed thousands of people at a commemorative ceremony at Istanbul's iconic July 15 Martyrs' Bridge, to mark the second anniversary of the defeat of the 2016 coup attempt.

Turkey's president said the "nation had closed the chapter of coups, never to be opened again."

Erdogan also thanked the "martyrs and veterans" who faced "tanks and jets" to resist the coup.

He said, "We are both very sad and proud at the same time. Since, on the one hand 250 people lost their lives, but at the same time we are also proud to have displayed a great resistance which was unique in the world."

Erdogan said the "blood of the July 15 martyrs not only protected our country, but also cemented brotherhood throughout our nation."

He the coup attempt in 2016 and the response to it "showed us once again who our true friends are."

The Turkish president said "we will continue our fight against FETO, both in Turkey and abroad. We will never forget who is protecting the coup plotters."

Rogue elements in Turkey's security forces and the military linked to the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO) led by US-based preacher Fetullah Gulen deployed fighter jets, helicopters and tanks in a bid to topple the democratically-elected government of Turkey on the night of July 15, 2016.

The defeated coup bid claimed the lives of at least 250 people and wounded nearly 2,200 others.

Prior to his speech, President Erdogan also visited the July 15 Martyrs' Monument nearby the bridge in Istanbul. Erdogan unveiled the monument last year, which was built in honour of those who lost their lives while resisting the attempted putsch.

The “July 15 Democracy and National Unity Day Meeting” began with a moment of silence for those killed and singing of the national anthem. The names of 251 people who died that night were read out one by one and verses from the Quran were recited.

Holding Turkish flags, people chanted slogans, including “Martyrs do not die, the country is not divided" and "Every Turk was born a soldier.”

Some people wore T-shirts with the star and crescent of the Turkish flag.

Many relatives of those who died defending Turkey's constitution that night carried photographs of their lost relatives.

Earlier on Sunday, President Erdogan said Turkey would never forget the night of the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016.

“We will not let July 15 be forgotten, we will not forget it,” Erdogan said during a meeting at the presidential complex in Ankara with the relatives of fallen citizens and veterans who helped resist the coup.

“Every [member] of the martyrs' families and veterans is like my true brother,” Erdogan said.

The president also said that those who try to trivialise the defeated coup are reflecting their “arrogance and hatred towards our country and our nation.”

Vowing to finish off every cell of the terrorist group, Erdogan said FETO works to harm Turkey’s unity and future, much like the PKK and Daesh.

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