UPDATES WITH MORE QUOTES BY ERDOGAN
By Busra Nur Bilgic and Dilara Hamit
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey's president on Monday attended the inauguration ceremony of the police headquarters building in the capital Ankara, previously destroyed by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) during the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
"As long as Turkey has its soldiers, police and intelligence, no one will attempt again to occupy the country," Erdogan said, adding that police had fought shoulder to shoulder with civilians against the coup plotters.
He stressed that none would be able to bring Turkey to its knees as long as it had institutions to protect its democracy.
On July 15, 2016, fighter jets flying low over Ankara bombed Turkey's Grand National Assembly, presidential complex, police headquarters and satellite operator Turksat.
Tanks and armored vehicles were also hijacked from military facilities and driven on the city streets in the capital.
The police headquarters was reopened by Erdogan on the third anniversary of the coup bid.
"We are taking every precaution to prevent betrayals like July 15 from happening again," he added.
"On the night of July 15, the first institution targeted by the putschists was our police organization. Together with our Security Directorate’s Department of Aviation in Golbasi, the Ankara Police Department was subjected to heavy attacks by FETO scoundrels through the night," Erdogan said.
"Every image that appears, every record the putschists thought they destroyed reminds us of the dimensions of the savagery that was inflicted here that night. These traitors were blinded by hatred to the point that they gave the order to 'shoot, kill, have no mercy, fire' against their own people and colleagues," he added.
An F-16 jet used by the FETO members bombed the Security Directorate’s Department of Aviation in the Golbasi district of Ankara and left seven martyrs and five others injured.
In the first minutes of July 16, the Security Directorate’s Department of Special Operations in the same district was also bombed martyring 44 police officers and injuring 36.
After the inauguration ceremony, Erdogan invited people to Istanbul Ataturk Airport via his Twitter account, reminiscent of his first call on July 15, 2016 night.
"I would like to invite our nation to the meeting at Ataturk Airport at 20:00 today [1700GMT] to protect the July 15 Saga, written in gold letters in history, as was in our call three years ago," Erdogan said.
Erdogan will soon depart for Istanbul to address the public at Ataturk Airport, and later to attend an opening ceremony of the July 15 Memorial Museum at former Bogazici (Bosphorus) Bridge, now July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 in Turkey, which left 251 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.
- Delivery of S-400 defense systems
Erdogan underlined that Turkey successfully purchased Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems despite disbelief in its ability to do so.
"The S-400 delivery is going to be completed in April 2020 and our new goal is to be joint production with Russia," Erdogan said.
Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defense system from the U.S. with no success, Ankara signed a contract in 2017 to purchase the Russian S-400s.
U.S. officials urged Turkey to buy U.S. Patriot missiles, arguing the Russian system would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35s to possible Russian espionage.
Turkey, however, emphasized the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.
Turkey has urged formation of a commission to clarify any technical issues, but the U.S. has failed to respond to the proposal.
The U.S. has threatened sanctions over the purchase, with Turkey responding that any sanctions would be met in kind.