President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Saturday vowed not to let last year defeated coup be forgotten, as millions converged at Istanbul’s iconic bridge to mark anniversary of the coup bid, APA reports quoting Anadolu agency.
Addressing the massive gathering, Erdogan said the nation could face new coup attempts if it doesn’t learn lessons from the July 15 coup attempt.
"We will not forget, [and] will not let it [defeated coup] be forgotten. If we do not learn the lessons from July 15, new July 15s would be inevitable," he said.
The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 2016, which left 249 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara has also said FETO is behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
The commemoration ceremony began at July 15 Martyrs' Bridge with national anthem, followed by a recitation of the Quran.
The names of the martyrs were read out and their pictures were also displayed on big screens installed at the venue.
The president said the bridge saw bloodiest scene and biggest resistance in which 36 people lost their lives. He thanked Turkish nation for showing resistance against the coup plotters.
Erdogan also lambasted the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) head Kemal Kilicdaroglu over his "controlled coup" remarks, which he said insulted the martyrs and veterans of the defeated coup.
"It is disrespect [and] insult to 250 martyrs, disrespect [and] insult to 2,193 veterans; it is disrespect [and] insult to this nation," lamented Erdogan while referring to Kilicdaroglu’s comments.
The CHP leader repeatedly claimed that the government knew about the coup attempt in advance but it failed to stop it.
In the wake of the putsch attempt, tens of thousands of FETO suspects have been arrested, including many in the armed forces, police, judicial system, education and business sectors.
Later, the president unveiled the Monument of Martyrs near July 15 Martyrs' Bridge to honor those who lost their lives while resisting the putsch.
Earlier, having gathered in Beylerbeyi, Cengelkoy, Altunizade and Kisikli districts of the Asian side of the city, people marched to the bridge amid tight security.
The bridge was closed by putschists on the night of the coup attempt.
Erdogan is scheduled to address the parliament at 2.32 a.m. local time (2332GMT), the time the parliament was bombed on the night of the coup attempt.
Sunday's program will begin with a morning prayer at Ankara's Bestepe Millet Mosque, followed by the opening of the July 15 Martyrs' Monument at the presidential complex.