Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is on the phone with people in Turkey. On every call.
A recorded message from Erdogan was broadcast on phones throughout Turkey Saturday, a peculiar way of marking the anniversary of a failed military coup on July 15, 2016. The message was apparently played before any call was connected in the country, catching many people by surprise.
“Not a dream, it’s real,” the worker’s rights group Sendika tweeted, attaching a video recording the message. “You will first listen to Erdogan when you make a call.”
The head of Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authorities confirmed the phone recording from the president, tweeting a recording of the message.
“As your president, I wish all of you a happy 15th of July Democracy and National Unity day, ask for blessings on our martyrs from Allah, and wish for health and happiness to our veterans,” Erdogan says in Turkish in the message.
Turkey continues to experience the fallout of last year’s coup attempt, when about 250 were killed and more than 2,000 injured after some members of the military attempted to overthrow Erdogan’s government. Turkey has been in a state of national emergency, and the government has engaged in a massive crackdown targeting journalists, academics, and anyone accused of having ties to the leaders of the coup.
Nevertheless, the Turkish government celebrated its victory over the coup Saturday. In addition to the more personalized message played across people’s telephone lines, Erdogan delivered a presidential address in front of a large crowd in Istanbul, thanking the Turkish citizens who assisted in thwarting the coup attempt, according to the BBC.
And he struck a harsh tone when referring to the alleged plotters who have yet been sentenced.
“When they appear in court,” Erdogan told the crowd, “let’s make them appear in uniform suits like in Guantanamo.”