By Ahmet Sait Akcay
ANKARA (AA) – "Democracy watch" rallies marking the first anniversary of last July's coup attempt will officially start on Saturday, the president announced Thursday.
After last year's coup attempt, “democracy watch” rallies were held all across the country for several weeks.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke at a memorial service held at Bestepe National Congress and Culture Center in Ankara to commemorate the martyrs of last July 15's coup attempt.
Erdogan said the watch will start on July 15. 2017 at 12.13 a.m. (2113GMT) with imams reciting Quran prayers simultanously.
“The nationwide democracy watch will continue till July 16, 2017 midnight,” Erdogan officially announced the launch of the event.
He added that democracy watches could take place after Sunday midnight.
The events and ceremonies, which will be attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will be open to the public.
Additionally, various activities will also be organized by non-governmental organizations, municipalities and institutions.
- July 15 documentary
On Saturday, July 15, the General Assembly of the parliament will convene at 1.00 p.m. local time (1000GMT) in Ankara with a special agenda followed by a meeting with international press members two hours later.
In Istanbul, a "National Unity Walk" will start at 6.30 p.m local time with the participation of Erdogan, veterans, and the relatives of martyrs. President Erdogan will address the public after the screening of a July 15 documentary. He will also attend the opening ceremony of a martyrs' memorial.
Erdogan is scheduled later to depart for Ankara where he will address the parliament at 2.32 a.m., the time the parliament was bombed on the night of the coup attempt.
Sunday's program will begin with a morning prayer at Ankara's Bestepe Millet Mosque followed by the opening of the July 15 Martyrs' Monument at the presidency complex.
Throughout the week, Turkish embassies across the world will hold memorial services and issue press releases about the coup attempt. Messages will also be shared on mainstream and social media.
According to the Turkish government, the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
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.