Speaking before tens of thousands of people at the iconic July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge on Saturday to mark the anniversary of the failed military coup attempt in which 249 people died resisting, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once again praised the nation’s perseverance, btravery and strength, and their will to defend democracy against the putschists.
Likening the defeat of last year’s July 15 botched coup attempt to Turkey’s independence war nearly a hundred years ago, Erdoğan said that Turkey’s citizens had saved Turkey’s future.
“The pro-coup soldiers were defeated by the nation in Istanbul and Ankara before they even had the chance to take control of other cities in Turkey,” the president said.
The Bosporus Bridge, now called the July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge, was the scene of clashes between civilians and soldiers in tanks. Erdoğan said that the bridge saw the bloodiest scene that night, and also witnessed the biggest resistance with 36 fatalities.
He also warned that the coup attempt “was not the first and would not be the last” and warned the nation that terror groups would work to undermine the country.
The Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 249 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured.
FETÖ is accused of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.