On Thursday, Turkey commemorated the fifth anniversary of the defeated 2016 coup d’état attempt, which cost the lives of 251 people and left more than 2,700 people injured. July 15, which marks the day in which the coup was attempted by the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), has since been regarded as a national holiday under the name “Democracy and National Unity Day.”
“The epic of July 15 is a common source of pride for all of Turkey. It is the victory of the nation, of national will, and of those who set their hearts on democracy,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a commemorative ceremony in the Turkish parliament. “The martyrs of that day are today’s representatives of the struggle for right against vanity, oppression and blasphemy,” the Turkish president added. Furthermore, Erdoğan stated that no one has the right to downplay Turkey’s struggle on the night of the attempted coup by FETO.
Speaking at a program in the Turkish capital Ankara, Turkish Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gül stated that the Turkish judiciary has fulfilled its responsibility since the coup d’état. The minister expressed, “The judiciary not only ensures justice, but also gives the necessary punishment to traitors according to the law… Our nation and our veterans can rest assured… History will never forget the honorable struggle of the Turkish judiciary against the putschists.”
The 2016 coup d’état was attempted by FETO and its US-based leader Fethullah Gülen, who organized the coup through encrypted channels connecting with sleeper cells in the country’s various institutions, including the military, police and judiciary, with the intention of overthrowing the Turkish government. Turkey has since continued to conduct operations in eliminating FETO agents domestically and internationally, in coordination with respective countries.
Gülen, who initially arrived in the US in 1999, currently lives in the state of Pennsylvania, in self-imposed exile.