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We Cannot Let Turkey Get Divided: Parliament Speaker

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Turkish parliament holds session attended by President Erdogan to mark first anniversary of July 15 defeated coup

The Turkish parliament held a plenary session on Saturday to mark the first anniversary of Fetullah Terrorist Organization’s (FETO) deadly July 15 defeated coup, with Speaker Ismail Kahraman calling for unity in the country.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended the session.

Turkey survived a deadly coup attempt on July 15 last year that martyred 250 people and injured nearly 2,200 others; FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

Before the session began, Kahraman launched a special exhibition displaying pictures from the coup night; the photos were selected from the archives of Anadolu Agency; main opposition Republican People's Party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu also attended the opening.

Addressing the parliament session, Kahraman recalled the defeated coup night during which the parliament building was also bombed.

The speaker said he immediately convened the general assembly of the parliament despite the bombing by FETO members.

About the lawmakers who attended the historic session on the coup bid night, he said: “All of us, the entire parliament was [on July 15, 2016] Sutcu Iman and Nene Hatun." 

Turkish army remains strong

Sutcu Imam and Nene Hatun are well known heroes of modern Turkey’s history.

Sutcu Imam, also known as Uzun Oluk, was the leader of the first alleged armed action against the French occupying forces in Turkey's Marash province on Oct. 31, 1919.

Nene Hatun had played an important role in the salvation of Erzurum province from Russian army at the start of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878.

Kahraman said Turkey would never allow itself to get divided. "We are Turkey, we cannot be divided; we cannot let Turkey get divided; we will proceed on our path with all our power."

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also addressed the deputies in the general assembly and said the Turkish army had now become more powerful after last summer's coup attempt.

More than 7,000 military personnel have been dismissed from the Turkish Armed Forces over suspected links to FETO since the defeated coup.

"Turkish army is more powerful today in comparison to the previous time of July 15. Turkish army is the army of glorious nation," Yildirim said.

"July 15 is a day in which faithful, crazy Turks crushed the tanks. July 15 is a day in which the nation thwarted the weapons with their bare hands against the occupation. July 15 is a day in which a lesson was given to world states on how a nation should be, on how a land should be defended." 

Turkey should learn lesson

Kilicdaroglu, who had repeatedly described the July 15 coup attempt as a "controlled coup" during his recently concluded long march, said coup plotters and their supporters should be held accountable.

On June 15, the CHP leader had launched a long march from Ankara to Istanbul following the imprisonment of his lawmaker Enis Berberoglu, who was sentenced to 25 years in jail. Berberoglu was convicted of revealing state secrets by passing images to the Cumhuriyet newspaper concerning the search of National Intelligence Organization (MIT) trucks en route to Syria in January 2014. 

In his address to the general assembly, he said: "The real fight against coup cannot be made without bringing to justice those who attempted the coup, who support it and who allow them to be placed in the most sensitive positions within the state.”

Kilicdaroglu also said Turkey should find out the alliance that made FETO powerful.

He added that Turkey should learn a lesson from the July 15 bid and should also "keep the state out of other dangerous alliances".

Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli described FETO as Turkey's enemy and slammed the position of other opposition parties on the defeated coup.

“Why can’t we all have one mind over the July 15 FETO coup attempt? Why don’t we all together object to traitors? Why don’t we have a single voice around the truth and reality. What is the reason that makes us think differently," Bahceli asked.

"How should we comment on the existing conflicting views when July 15 was an assassination [attempt on] Turkey and a murder aimed at demolishing our nation." 

'Denial of wisdom'

He also criticized the remarks of CHP leader who described events of last year as a "controlled coup".

"Calling the July 15 FETO coup attempt as a controlled coup is firstly the denial of wisdom, killing of conscience and destruction of simple realities," he added.

In the year that has passed since the foiled July 15, 2016 coup, more than 50,000 suspects have been remanded in custody. The exact number of those remanded is 50,510.

The number includes 169 generals, 8,815 police officers, 7,098 soldiers with the rank of colonel or lower, 24 governors, 73 deputy governors, and 2,431 members of the judiciary.

Out of 2,431 jurists remanded, 2,280 were serving in judicial or administrative courts as judges or prosecutors, 105 served on the Supreme Court, 41 served on the Council of State, two served in the Constitutional Court, and three served on the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK).

A total of 48,439 people were released under judicial control, including 3,046 soldiers, 5,024 police officers, nine governors, 27 deputy governors, and three Supreme Court judges.

So far, 169,013 suspects have been investigated or prosecuted as part of investigations of the defeated coup; 43,404 people out of the total were later released.

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