No network of traitors or terrorist organizations can disrupt the unity, solidarity and brotherhood in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Monday on the third anniversary of the July 15 failed coup attempt.
Addressing the public at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport, Erdoğan said Turkey would never be occupied by those who sold their souls to the devil.
"On the night of July 15, they wanted to bury Turkey in darkness but failed. Allah ruined their traps," he said.
"I salute every member of our heroic nation who stood against planes, tanks and bullets to protect the independence of our nation and the future of our country on July 15," he added. In his speech, Erdoğan applauded the soldiers and staff of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).
"I would like to express my gratitude on behalf of myself and my nation to our media, nongovernmental organizations and intellectuals for setting an example for the world," Erdoğan said. "We announced this date as Democracy and National Unity Day, a national holiday, so the future generations can remember the martyrs of July 15. Today, if we can speak freely, take a breath and keep working, we owe it to our martyrs, veterans and all the heroes," he said.
Erdoğan also emphasized that those who support the opposite side on issues concerning the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus and Aegean are being fooled.
He also slammed those who see Turkey's struggle in the diplomatic, economic and military realms "as simply a political squabble."
The president attended the opening ceremony of the July 15 Memorial Museum at the former Bosphorus Bridge, now called the July 15 Martyrs' Bridge.
He stressed the importance of passing down the history to the coming generations accurately. "History is not only the past of a nation but also the compass of the future," Erdoğan said. "When we look at our past, not only do we take a lesson, we also take strength, courage and inspiration," he said. Erdoğan also emphasized the importance of being conscious of history and said the government has implemented such projects to improve people's knowledge about the past.
Turkey marks July 15 as Democracy and National Unity Day. In this respect, nationwide ceremonies to mark the 3rd anniversary of the July 15 coup attempt.
On the night of July 15, 2016, a small military junta, accused of being members of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), tried to overthrow the democratically elected government and assassinate Erdoğan, who was on holiday in Marmaris, a district in the southwestern province of Muğla.
The coup plotters, who used heavy weaponry, including fighter jets, helicopters and tanks, against pro-democracy people that poured onto streets, killed 251 people and wounded more than 2,200.
The coup attempt, which was the first in almost two decades in coup-prone Turkey, saw FETÖ's military infiltrators trying to seize power. The attempt was thwarted thanks to strong public resistance.
One of the icons of this resistance was Ömer Halisdemir, a sergeant who was gunned down by one of the coup's leaders upon the orders of a general he served as an aide. Halisdemir was stationed at the headquarters of the Special Forces Command. Halisdemir, who has been posthumously described as one of the heroes of the anti-coup resistance, was shot dead by another set of putschist soldiers who were accompanying putschist general Semih Terzi when the latter arrived at the headquarters to take it over. After the killing of Halisdemir, the headquarters were the scene of a brief conflict between pro-coup and anti-coup military officers, who ultimately foiled the takeover attempt.