Turkey’s government marks 3rd anniversary of failed coup

A security officer stands near the ‘Martyrs Monument’ outside the presidential palace in Ankara on Monday. (AP)
Updated 16 July 2019

Turkey’s government marks 3rd anniversary of failed coup

  • Raids to capture suspects accused of ties to Ankara’s foe Fethullah Gulen still continue

ANKARA: Turkey on Monday marked the third anniversary of a bloody attempt to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against a backdrop of growing tensions with the West.
Nearly 250 people were killed — excluding the coup plotters — and over 2,000 were injured after a rogue military faction tried to wrest power from the president, but thousands took to the streets in response to Erdogan’s call to defeat the uprising.
The anniversary comes at a difficult moment for Erdogan, faced with a weakened economy, worsening relations with NATO ally the US, and a loss for his party in the recent Istanbul local election to a more unified opposition.
After laying flowers at a monument for coup victims at his presidential palace complex in Ankara, Erdogan took part in a tense ceremony at Parliament, which was bombed during the attempted putsch.
Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter that Turkey “sends a powerful message of unity and solidarity to the world: We will die but never let traitors and putschists destroy our country, our freedom and our dignity.”
The day, known as “15 July” in Turkey, has become a national holiday.

FASTFACT

• The anniversary comes at a difficult moment for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, faced with a weakened economy, worsening relations with NATO ally the US, and a loss for his party in the recent Istanbul local election to a more unified opposition.

• Relations with the West deteriorated after the coup bid, with Turkish officials accusing the West of not giving Ankara sufficient support.

• At the same time, Erdogan has grown ever closer to Russian President Vladimir Putin, raising concerns in Europe and the US.

• Adding to the tension, Ankara has bought Russia’s S-400 missile defense system, and has drilled for gas and oil off Cyprus despite EU warnings.

• Ankara accuses former ally-turned-foe Fethullah Gulen of having ordered the attempted coup and lists his movement as a ‘terrorist’ organization.

Relations with the West deteriorated after the coup bid, with Turkish officials accusing the West of not giving Ankara sufficient support.
At the same time, Erdogan has grown ever closer to Russian President Vladimir Putin, raising concerns in Europe and the US. Adding to the tension, Ankara has bought Russia’s S-400 missile defense system, and has drilled for gas and oil off Cyprus despite EU warnings.
Ankara accuses former ally-turned-foe Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric exiled in the United States, of having ordered the attempted coup and lists his movement as a “terrorist” organization. Some 8,000 military personnel took part in the bid to overthrow Erdogan, backed by 35 fighter jets, three boats, 37 helicopters and 74 tanks, according to state news agency Anadolu.
Since 2016, tens of thousands of people have been detained while 150,000 public sector employees have been suspended or sacked over alleged links to Gulen.
Anadolu reported Sunday that 110 suspected Gulen movement members have been extradited to Turkey from more than 20 countries.
Hundreds of life sentences have been handed down against accused putschists.
There are still almost daily police raids to capture suspects accused of ties to Gulen.


Libya’s GNA govt detains 35 Egyptian fishermen

Updated 43 min 54 sec ago

Libya’s GNA govt detains 35 Egyptian fishermen

  • The GNA is still holding the fishermen without a clear accusation to justify their detention

CAIRO: The fate of at least 35 Egyptian fishermen hangs in the balance after they were arrested by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) on Nov. 2 last year.  

The families of the fishermen have appealed to the Egyptian government to step up their efforts to secure their freedom as Cairo has been working on their release since November.

Little is known about the fate of the fishermen in Libya other than their location, after it was leaked to Egyptian authorities that they were held in the Turmina Prison, which is affiliated with the GNA.

The head of the Fishermen’s Syndicate in Kafr El-Sheikh, Ahmed Nassar, said they had not been able to communicate with the fishermen since last November and after their disappearance they came to learn that the GNA authorities had detained them.

The GNA is still holding the fishermen without a clear accusation to justify their detention. Nassar said that the fishermen were not fishing in Libyan territory without a permit.

Nassar explained that the fishermen were working on Libyan boats. Alongside them were a number of colleagues working on boats that belong to the Al-Wefaq government. They were not approached by anyone unlike their detained colleagues who were arrested and sent to prison without being charged with any crime.

The Fishermen’s Syndicate chief said that people had called on the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the government, and the consular section had also been contacted about the matter.

Many of the detained fishermen come from Kafr El-Sheikh, while others come from Abu Qir in the governorate of Alexandria.

The fishermen had been supporting families of up to eight members.

Egyptian authorities say they are exerting great efforts to bring the fishermen back safely, while the fishermen’s families continue to demand safety and justice for the men.