US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert issued a press statement on Friday expressing support for Turkey’s democracy and democratic institutions on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of an attempted coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016.
“One year ago, Turkey’s brave and dedicated citizens of all backgrounds and political views defended their democracy against an attempted coup. We reaffirm the United States’ steadfast support for Turkey’s democracy and democratic institutions. We offer our condolences to the friends and loved ones of those injured or killed during the coup attempt,” said Nauert’s statement.
Reminding that democratic culture necessitates the inclusion of more voices, tolerance and dissent for protection of fundamental freedoms, Nauert said “Persistent curbs on those fundamental freedoms erode the foundations of democratic society.”
The military coup attempt on July 15 killed 249 people and wounded a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.
Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting participants of the Gülen movement in jails.
Turkey’s Justice Ministry has announced that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since a failed coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016.