Turkish Parliament declares July 15 official holiday

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A general view of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. AFP PHOTO/ADEM ALTAN / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

Turkish deputies approved a bill on Tuesday that declares July 15, the date of a foiled coup attempt in Turkey, as a national holiday, to be called the “Day of Democracy and National Unity”.

As part of the same bill, Parliament also approved changing the name of Kazan, a district in Ankara where people resisted soldiers attempting to carry out the coup, to “Kahramankazan” (Hero Kazan).

Turkey experienced a coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Despite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, and the movement having denied the accusation, Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

More than 110,000 people have been purged from state bodies, 82,000 detained and 35,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors, housewives and even a comedian.

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