Turkey to commemorate 3rd anniversary of coup attempt

Turkey is preparing to commemorate the third anniversary of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt on Monday with over 1,500 events around the country and abroad, including a ceremony at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport, where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to deliver a speech.

Over 300 people were killed and more than 2,100 were injured during the failed putsch of July 15, 2016, which Ankara maintains was orchestrated by Gülen movement. The Turkish government says the religious group, with U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen at helm, led a long-running scheme to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by infiltrating Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

Gülen has denied any involvement in coup and Washington has refused Ankara's demands to extradite the cleric to Turkey.

Previous years have seen tens of thousands rallying on the anniversary of the failed coup and mosques across Turkey holding special public prayers.

Erdoğan on Monday will participate in a Quran reading at the Millet Mosque in Ankara before attending a ceremony to be held at Istanbul Atatürk Airport at 8 p.m. local time, CNN Türk reported on Sunday.

Atatürk Airport, along with Istanbul’s main bridge connecting the Asian and European sides of the city, was taken over by pro-coup soldiers on the night of July 15, 2016. The airport also holds significance as the location where Erdoğan arrived following the failed coup.

A number of Turkish embassies throughout the world will also hold ceremonies to mark the occasion.

State-run Anadolu news agency on Sunday shared images from the night, along with never before seen footage from the night of crowds on the streets of Istanbul.

The agency also published the reaction of world leaders and international organisations to the failed putsch of 2016, noting that Europe stopped at condoning the coup attempt, while the United States was late in expressing its support. 

Pro-government Sabah's news site shared a series of messages with visuals pertaining to the failed putsch for readers to circulate to mark the occasion.

In the 3-year crackdown by the Turkish government since the failed coup, more than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial and about 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended from their jobs.

The government also closed down around 200 media organisations, including newspapers, periodicals, radio stations and television channels.

Opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu called for the inquiry commission established to examine the appeals of civil servants, dismissed under the two year-long emergency rule following 2016 coup attempt, to work more transparently.

“Society, along with political parties, has paid the price of coups in the heaviest of ways,’’ left-wing  Evrensel quoted Tanrıkulu as saying.

The commission, formed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), in 2018 rejected 92 percent of the 36,000 files it reviewed.