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A year after failed coup in Turkey, Erdogan says 'behead traitors'

A year after failed coup in Turkey, Erdogan says 'behead traitors'

A state of emergency that gives the government extraordinary powers has remained in effect for nearly a year, prompting critics to charge that Erdogan seized on the coup attempt to bolster his power.

In the latest dismissals ordered just hours before the commemorations were due to begin, another 7,563 police, soldiers and other state employees were fired under the state of emergency that has been in place since July 20 past year.

Turkey's opposition put political disputes aside on the night of the attempted coup.

More than 50,000 people have been detained since the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers, human rights activists and opposition MPs.

Erdogan said: "These are still their good days".

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That unity, though, has dissipated as the government cast a wide net in pursuit of its enemies, sweeping up the failed coup's alleged accomplices but also dissidents.

Many marched to the building clutching a 3 kilometer- (1.86 mile) long flag, the Hurriyet newspaper reported. Almost 250 people were killed and over 2,000 people were injured in the coup attempt.

Tens of thousands carrying the Turkish flag and chanting "we are soldiers of Tayyip (Erdogan)" gathered on the bridge, which has since been renamed Bridge of the Martyrs of July 15.

Teachers, academics, military and police officers were sacked late Friday, including former Istanbul governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu who was jailed last August for alleged links to US -based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The government has blamed the coup attempt on loyalists of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric who lives in exile in Pennsylvania. The latest wave of dismissals brings the number of fired civil servants to more than 110,000 people.

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In a statement issued on Saturday, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: "I reiterate my strong message that any attempt to undermine democracy in any of our allied countries is unacceptable".

Around 350 soldiers were also stripped of their ranks in the latest action.

During the uprising, F-16 fighter jets piloted by plotters bombed Turkey's parliament 11 times, forcing members of parliament who convened for an emergency session to seek shelter in the basement.

Since the coup attempt, more than 169,000 people have faced "judicial action" ranging from travel restrictions and detentions to arrest warrants, the justice ministry said, according to Anadolu.

Turkey is commemorating the first anniversary of quashing last summer's coup attempt with events over the weekend in Istanbul and Ankara. Two hundred and forty nine people, not including the plotters, were killed when a disgruntled faction in the army sent tanks into the streets and war planes into the sky in a bid to overthrow Erdogan after one-and-a-half decades in power. Accompanied by his grandchildren wearing shirts with Turkish flags and relatives of the deceased, Erdogan then joined the crowd on the bridge where he was to unveil a Martyrs' Memorial to honour those who died opposing the coup.

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The country was blanketed by posters depicting scenes from the failed coup in the manner of epic paintings.


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