Turkey coup anniversary: Erdogan gives emotional speech, promises to decapitate ‘traitors’ 

July 16, 2017, 12:32 pm
Turkey coup anniversary: Erdogan gives emotional speech, promises to decapitate ‘traitors’ 
WORLD
WORLD
Turkey coup anniversary: Erdogan gives emotional speech, promises to decapitate ‘traitors’ 

Turkey coup anniversary: Erdogan gives emotional speech, promises to decapitate ‘traitors’ 

On the first anniversary of the foiled coup, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave an emotional speech in Istanbul on Saturday hailing his country men for encountering plotters in the street.

Speaking to hundreds of thousands of people at a massive ceremony, he promised to decapitate the "traitors".

"People that night did not have guns, they had a flag and more importantly, they had their faith", he told cheering thousands.

Erdogan said the arrested plotters should wear Guantanamo Bay-style uniforms.

The coup attempt by an army faction failed due to lack of support from the entire army and public resistance.

Around 250 people, including army men, died and 2,196 were wounded in the attempted putsch.

Addressing thousands at the Bosporus bridge in Istanbul, where opponents of the putsch clashed with rebellious soldiers a year ago, Erdogan said: "First of all we will chop off the heads of those traitors".

The span has been renamed July 15 Martyrs Bridge in honour of the 249 people who died in the foiled uprising.

The president, who supports the return of capital punishment, promised to sign such a measure if parliament passed it, though the current make up of the legislature makes that unlikely.

Erdogan also hailed the public who stood by the nation saying "the independence and future we obtained in return for that sacrifice."

The Turkish government blames the attempted coup on supporters of exiled Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen, who was an ally of Erdogan until 2013.

Ankara has asked the US to extradite Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania.

Under a state of emergency imposed by Erdogan in the wake of the failed coup, around 140,000 public employees - police, judges and teachers, among others - have been fired from their jobs on allegations of Gülenist ties.

Roughly 50,000 people remain in preventive detention awaiting trial for ostensible links to the coup attempt.

The government has also shut down media outlets and arrested opposition politicians, including some known to be hostile to Gülen's Islamist agenda.