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People wave flags

People wave Turkey’s national flags as they attend a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the attempted coup at the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey, July 15, 2017. (Photo: Osman Orsal/Reuters)

Turkey marks the 1-year anniversary of failed coup attempt

Waving large red Turkish flags, tens of thousands joined a national unity march in Istanbul on Saturday, converging at the iconic July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge to mark the anniversary of the failed military coup attempt that 250 people died resisting.

As part of the commemoration, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew to Istanbul on Saturday and was photographed waving at a fighter jet escorting his aircraft. Accompanied by children wearing shirts with Turkish flags and relatives of the deceased, Erdogan then joined the crowd near the bridge where he was to unveil a Martyr’s Memorial to honor those who died opposing the coup.

“It has been exactly one year since Turkey’s darkest and longest night was transformed into a bright day, since an enemy occupation turned into the people’s legend,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said earlier in the day at a special parliamentary session in Ankara, the capital, attended by Erdogan.

Marches were also taking place in Ankara.

Turkish soldiers attempted to overthrow the government and the president using tanks, warplanes and helicopters on July 15, 2016. The coup plotters declared their seizure of power on the state broadcaster, bombed the country’s parliament and other key locations, and raided an Aegean resort where Erdogan had been on vacation. But Erdogan had already left and the coup attempt was put down by civilians and security forces.

The Bosporus Bridge, now called the July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge, was the scene of clashes between civilians and soldiers in tanks. Some 250 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured across Turkey in the struggle. Thirty-five coup plotters were also killed. (AP)

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