Why Erdogan celebrated the anniversary of the attempted coup

The night in the square

“None of the traitors of this nation will not go unpunished,” — said the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking in the square in front of Parliament in Ankara at three a.m. on July 16. Thousands of gathered supporters, he promised to restore canceled in 2004, the death penalty, if lawmakers approve the initiative (to consider the question Parliament will be July 17). “If the draft law on the death penalty will pass through the Parliament, I approve. I believe it will pass”, — he stressed. The crowd in response approvingly hooted and chanted the name of Erdogan, in power since 2003. The timing of the speech was not accidental: it was the hour a year ago, the Parliament building was bombed during the military coup that presidential forces managed to suppress.

Night speech in Ankara, which followed the morning prayer the opening of the monument made up of a series of events for the first time earlier this Turkey day of democracy and national unity to mark the anniversary of the failed coup. The official feast day is July 15.

Speaking in the capital, erdoğan criticized those who claimed that the conspiracy was controlled by the authorities. This version sticks to the leader of the opposition Republican people’s party Kemal Kilicdaroglu. The opposition has repeatedly said that the government knew in advance about the coup, but did nothing to prevent it. According to Erdogan, such insinuations “insult an entire nation.”

Before a speech in Ankara the President made a speech in Istanbul. “The attempted coup on 15 July — this is not the first attack on our country, and it will not be the last,” said he, speaking in the largest city of the country. Traitors, he promised to “cut off the head.” There he was again struck with charges on preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom the Turkish authorities consider as the organizer of the attempted coup. Erdogan assured the protesters that the government will continue to work for the elimination of the institutions associated with “a Terrorist organization of Fethullah Gulen” (FETO).

On the eve of the celebration, on Friday, the Prime Minister of Turkey Binali yıldırım, speaking at the awards ceremony of Turkish journalists repeatedly stressed the “important role” played by the Turkish media, both national, regional and local, in preventing the coup. According to him, supported the government of Turkey of the media that night became “guarantors of democracy”.

The coup attempt

15 July 2016, a group of Turkish army officers attacked by military aircraft, helicopters and tanks to key government buildings in Ankara, including the Parliament, the Directorate of security of Ankara, the National intelligence Agency and presidential Palace complex. In Istanbul the rebels cut off one of the bridges over the Bosphorus and the city’s main square, tried to seize the TV station, including the Turkish TV channel TRT.

The clashes, according to Turkish authorities, on the night of July 16, killing about 250 people, more than 2 thousand were wounded. Among the dead are 53 police officers from special forces, a training centre which has been subjected to air attack.

Over the last 30 years in Turkey had three military coups and all reached their goal.

Free travel & monuments

Events on the occasion of the public holiday, were held in dozens of cities across the country. Millions of supporters of the President took to the streets to mark the occasion. On Saturday night tens of thousands of residents of the Turkish capital took part in the “Procession of national unity”, which ended in front of the Turkish Parliament. During the protest, participants carried a three-kilometer Turkish flag and pictures of the victims. Such a procession of supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held earlier in the day in Istanbul.

Weekend in Istanbul and Ankara, the public transport was free. The buses on the scoreboard showed messages of congratulations on the occasion. In the city center mounted screens that broadcast videos about the events of July 2016. On the eve of the anniversary of some Turkish TV channels showed scenes in which unarmed young people confronting tanks and soldiers. In addition, mobile operators Turkcell and Vodafon has replaced the classic beeps on the recorded by the President of countries congratulations.

Before the speech of Erdogan in Ankara on the facade of the Parliament building was modeled graphic hologram reproducing attacks of Parliament on the night of the attempted coup.

The Turkish authorities also found two monuments in memory of the victims of the events of mid-July 2016: opposite the presidential Palace in Ankara on the bridge of the Martyrs on 15 July in Istanbul, where during the coup attempt killed 34 people. The General Directorate of press and information of Turkey to the anniversary coincided with the visit of 350 journalists from 52 countries, among whom was the correspondent of RBC.

“External forces” and “sleeper cells”

Over the past year, according to official Turkish statistics, more than 50 thousand people were arrested on suspicion of having links with the rebels, 150 thousand people dismissed or suspended, including military, police, judiciary, teachers and scientists. In the public sector dismissed more than 7 thousand people, including more than 2,300 police officers. According to Turkish officials, cleaning is a complicated but necessary process to restore stability and order in the country.

Until 2013 there was no sign that supporters of the Islamic preacher and social activist Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of rebellion, conduct subversive activities in the country, told reporters the representative of the ruling justice and development party (AKP) Mahir Unal. However, after the events of 17-25 December 2013, in his words, “it became clear that they create a parallel structure within state institutions on the orders of their leader Gulen”. In December 2013, Turkish media outlets published the dirt on the leadership and members of their families, after which Ankara had declared Gulen a terrorist and “the founder of the parallel state.” According to the representative of the AKP, civil servants, including judges and police, began to submit to external control. “Sleeper cells” of Gulen, according to authorities, was also implemented in the army.

Indicative of the Turkish government and foreign intervention. “There is always the factor of foreign influence,” said Unal. However, on the request of journalists to clarify what external forces could be involved in a conspiracy against the Turkish government, Unal said that at the moment the Turkish authorities can provide such information.

Disgruntled representatives of the authorities and reaction to what happened in the European Union and the United States. “Despite the fact that we have presented all the evidence, the head of the conspiracy remains in US”, — told reporters the Minister of family and social policies Fatma şahin. Gülen emigrated to the United States in 1999.

EU authorities have criticized Ankara for violation of human rights in the investigation and warn against the imposition of the death penalty. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in may called the intention to return the death penalty by crossing the “most red of all red lines” and the reason for the termination of negotiations with Turkey on EU membership.

On the eve of Friday, July 14, Yildirim announced the extension introduced immediately after the coup, state of emergency (emergency) for another three months. Erdogan’s opponents believe that the current already year mode allowed him to lead the country towards a more authoritarian regime, writes The Financial Times. 16 April 2017 in the conditions of state of emergency, a referendum was held, in which the Turkish Republic has moved from a parliamentary to a presidential form of government, which greatly expanded the authority of Erdogan.

General mobilization

A new holiday is necessary to honor the dead and celebrate the fact that the people of the country managed to defend the sovereignty and Turkish democracy, explained to journalists by the authorities. The authorities and the ruling party of Turkey it is necessary to fix in the public mind that the opposition to the military when the coup attempt is a sacred duty of every Turk in Turkey, where there is a split society on a number of important issues, including correctness pursued by the Erdogan policy in the country, gives another explanation Timur Akhmetov, the independent expert-the expert, based in Ankara. Organizing a new holiday, the authorities want to get additional source of legitimacy through the promotion of its image as a center around which the Turkish society is United against the military, Akhmetov explains.

The attempted coup was for the Turkish President a very successful event, said Ilshat Saitov, researcher, Institute of Oriental studies: “Erdogan has consolidated his power, smoothed out all the areas from the competitors. The anniversary of a failed attempt is a great way to show the people whose side is right and who defeated the enemies.”

The celebration of the anniversary of the failed coup is very important for political mobilization of the Turkish people to prevent such incidents in the future, says Orhan Gafarli, expert from the Center for political research in Ankara. “Erdogan wants to show that the people of Turkey opposed the military coup, to maintain the existing regime in the country. This is an important symbolic event for the new Turkey, which wants to build Erdogan and his party”, — he said RBC. To celebrate the anniversary of the failed coup — is a rational move by the President, after all, Turkey has experienced this event and won over the supporters of Gulen indicates Volkan Ozdemir, expert of the Department of Eurasian studies at middle East technical University in Ankara. “Erdogan has managed to mobilize around itself the masses and did it successfully”, — the expert concludes.

Today, about half of the population supports Erdogan, half — against, said the Saitov. “This is a very delicate balance, and the authorities have all the time to pump up the agenda of new information reasons”, — the expert concludes.