District at the heart of coup attempt to host democracy museum
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULOct 20, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Oct 20, 2016 12:00 am
Kazan, a district of some 51,000 people in the northwest of the capital city of Ankara, was lauded for its locals' heroic attempts to foil the coup attempt on July 15. The district, home to an air base where coup plotters linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) orchestrated the attacks on the presidential palace and Parliament, among other places, will now host a democracy museum.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism started work on the construction of the museum, which will be officially titled "July 15 Martyrs and Democracy Museum," in reference to more than 240 people killed by pro-coup troops.
Authorities allocated a 10,000-square-meter plot for the museum that will house exhibitions as well as a large conference hall. The ministry is seeking donations for the museum, from photos of coup victims to objects related to the coup attempt.
Akıncı air base, where Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and military brass opposing the coup were held by coup plotters and fighter jets took off for airstrikes against any place resisting the coup, was surrounded by residents of Kazan on July 15. A crowd gathered upon hearing the news of the coup and was called on by the country's leaders to stop the coup by piling up hay bales and setting them on fire, in an attempt to limit the visibility of the aircraft. Some residents even set their crops in the fields on fire and tried to force their way inside the base. Nine people were killed and 92 others injured when coup troops opened fire on the unarmed crowd.
The strong public resistance across the country thwarted the coup as police and troops opposing the putsch were able to regain control after civilians overwhelmed the coup soldiers despite high numbers of casualties.
In a bid to remember the victims of the coup, commonly known as"democracy martyrs," Turkey plans to declare July 15 as Democracy and Freedom Day while the name Kazan will be changed to"Kahraman [Hero] Kazan" in a tribute to the fallen in the district.
A democracy museum is also planned for Istanbul by the city's municipality to remember those killed while resisting the coup.
Parliament, which was bombed for the first time in its history, will also house a democracy museum planned to be set up in a bombed-out section of the complex.