Turkey Marks Coup Anniversary with National Holiday

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Turkey marks the one-year anniversary Saturday of a defeated military coup.

Since then, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed at least 100,000 civil servants he has characterized as supporters of the aborted coup. The government has arrested another 50,000 people.

Turkish officials have declared July 15 a national holiday of “democracy and unity.”

The Turkish opposition says that Erdogan’s government is moving toward authoritarianism, while the Turkish leader says that the crackdown on rights is necessary to thwart security threats to the ruling government.

Erdogan claims the coup was led by a cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who has been living in self-imposed exile in the United States for nearly two decades. Gulen denies any involvement.

In a statement on the anniversary of the coup, Gulen said the Turkish government’s “treatment of innocent citizens during the past year is dragging Turkey into the category of the countries with the worst record of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms in the world,” and that the Turkish people “are being rallied en masse around hate messages.”

On Friday, Turkey fired more than 7,000 police officers, government officials and academics.

A government order, published by the official state-run Gazette shows that among those dismissed are 2,303 police, including some high ranking officers, along with more than 300 academics from universities.

The decree also striped 342 retired officers and soldiers from their ranks.

The order was published under a state of emergency imposed after last year’s attempted coup.



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