A series of events took place in the United States on Thursday to mark the fifth anniversary of an attempted coup in Turkey in 2016 in which hundreds of civilians were killed and thousands more injured.
A commemoration ceremony at the Turkish Embassy in Washington, the capital of the United States, began with a minute of silence for the victims and the recitation of the national anthem.
The event brought together US officials from the State Department’s Turkish and Congressional Office, experts and academics as well as the ambassadors of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Lebanon and Malaysia.
Speaking at the event, Turkish Ambassador Hasan Murat Mercan said the defeated coup will never be forgotten by the Turkish people.
“This event is, in many cases, different from previous attempts, because for the first time in Turkish history, civilians were deliberately attacked in the streets and the Turkish parliament was bombed,” Mercan said.
July 15, the day of the defeated coup, is marked in Turkey as the Day of Democracy and National Unity, with commemorations held across the country and at diplomatic missions abroad.
Republican Rep. Peter Sessions of Texas sent a video message to Ambassador Mercan saying that the night of the coup was “a sad day” for Turkey and the United States.
“As you celebrate this all over Turkey where America is celebrating it with you, we want to say that we stand with Turkey. We need your great country and the Turkish people to know that the American people care deeply. of your success, ”he added. .
Among the attendees was Osama Jammal, secretary general of the American Council of Muslim Organizations, who delivered a solidarity speech at the embassy.
“On the night of July 15, the Turkish people truly lived up to the name of their country, the Republic of Turkey, with bravery and acts of deep sacrifice,” Jammal said.
“We are very honored to be here today to remember those who gave their lives for their country. Democracy is precious, and we must all stand up for it.”
The Gülenist Terrorist Group (FETÖ) and its US-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETÖ of being at the origin of a long campaign to overthrow the state by infiltrating Turkish institutions, in particular the army, the police and the judiciary.
Gülen has lived in exile in the United States near Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania since 1999.
Since the coup attempt, Turkey has requested Gülen’s extradition and complained that Washington is not acting fast enough.
In addition, a group of members of the Turkish-American community gathered near the White House and the Congress building to protest against the group behind the attempted coup, calling on the United States to extradite Gülen.
In New York, the Turkish community marked the event in Times Square. Digital screens displayed “Our Heroes” and “The Victory of Democracy” as well as the Turkish flag.
In addition, digital advertising trucks aimed at raising awareness about the attempted coup in Turkey traveled to Times Square and Manhattan.