By Sercan Kucuksahin
KAYSERI, Turkey (AA) - A Belgium-based Turkish Mustafa Oz commemorated the martyrs of July 15 defeated coup in his own way, by peddling some 3,000 kilometers (over 1850 miles) to reach central Kayseri province of Turkey.
Setting out from Belgium’s Antwerp port city, Oz, 59, biked across five countries. He covered Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, and Italy by land and then arrived in Greece via ship. Navigating across 50 cities during his journey, the biker described the whole experience as a dream.
Recalling his passion for bicycle since childhood, Oz told Anadolu Agency: “I have always been biking, but I had never undertaken such a long journey.”
He said that despite living abroad, the heinous coup attempt of July 15, has left a big mark on him.
“We have been trying to show affection to our country, citizens, government and the martyrs. So I had decided to come to Turkey using my bike to commemorate the July 15 martyrs,” Oz said.
Stating that his family was apprehensive due to his age, and health problems, Oz said, he convinced them and took to the road.
“I had been on the road since 20 days. I came across many difficulties but I did not give up, when I thought of dedicating my journey to our martyrs at the end.”
Recollecting many memorable moments, he said there was a bad moment, when he was attacked by a group of stray dogs in Thessaloniki, Greece. “I saved my life,” he said.
Also one of tires of the bicycle punctured in Ankara’s Kahramankazan district, and it was one of the difficult moment for him.
The biker’s wife, Kadriye Oz was in Kayseri to receive her husband. She had seen her husband off 20 days ago in Belgium and then flew to Turkey.
“At the beginning, we opposed it. He was so determined despite his knee problem,” Mrs. Oz said. Without wasting a minute, Mr. Oz replied that he had to do it, before it was too late.
Turkey marks July 15 as Democracy and National Unity Day. The day is commemorated with events honoring those who lost their lives, while defeating the putschists and to remember bravery of the nation.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the legitimate state apparatus, through infiltrations into Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
*Writing by Sena Guler