President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the Turkish nation changed the course of a coup attempt by taking to the streets on the night of July 15 and turned it into a coup to its benefit.
“Those who tried to block our way on July 15 could not manage this. On that night, my nation took to the streets without hesitation and changed the coup [attempt] into a coup in its favor,” Erdoğan said.
His remarks came during the inauguration ceremony of a museum bearing the name of former President Abdullah Gül in the central Turkish province of Kayseri on Sunday.
More than 240 people were killed and a thousand others were injured during the July 15 coup attempt when Erdoğan called on people to take to the streets to confront the coup plotters.
Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.
Despite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose views 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 115,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 90,000 detained and over 39,000 have been arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian. Critics argue that lists of Gülen sympathizers were drawn up prior to the coup attempt.