Turkey: What happened night of July 15 at parliament?

Turkey: What happened night of July 15 at parliament?

Over 100 Turkish lawmakers were inside parliament when it was bombed 3 times during 2016 defeated coup

By Coskun Ergul

ANKARA (AA) – With over 100 lawmakers inside, the Turkish parliament was hit by bombs three times on July 15, 2016, the night of the defeated coup.

While Turks were flocking to central squares across the country in defense of democracy, Turkish lawmakers did the same by going to parliament.

A total of 106 deputies were at parliament during the defeated coup attempt: 80 from the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, 16 from the Republican People's Party (CHP), and 10 from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

As the lawmakers had worked until early morning on July 14 to pass a 75-item bill on improving the investment climate, parliament was supposed to be adjourned on July 15.

Most of the lawmakers had returned to their home districts after long, busy working hours.

The lawmakers who were in Ankara during the defeated coup bid saw the jets flying over the capital at around 9:30 p.m. (1830GMT) local time.

By consulting fellow party members through social media, AK Party deputies were able to figure out that it was a coup attempt.

After debating whether to go to AK Party headquarters or parliament, they decided for the latter.

Then-Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman was working at parliament and left it at around 9:41 p.m. local time. He learned about the coup attempt only after getting home.

-Deputies flock to parliament

The deputies who came to parliament during the coup attempt include Ahmet Gundogdu, Aydin Unal, Julide Sarieroglu, Ayse Sula Koseoglu, Ilknur Inceoz, Lutfiye Selva Cam, Mustafa Sahin, Orhan Atalay, Ayse Kesir, Sema Kirci, and Bennur Karaburun, all from the AK Party.

Later that night, lawmakers from the opposition parties also began to come to parliament.

Kahraman got back to parliament at around 11:26 p.m. and ordered that the General Assembly come back into session. He later left at 11:45 p.m. for the Cankaya Palace -- then the prime minister’s residence -- where a crisis desk was established. Kahraman returned to parliament at 1:20 a.m. local time.

The first bomb hit the garden of parliament at 2:33 a.m. A second bomb hit a corridor close to the Prime Ministry room, causing severe damage and leaving General Assembly hall swirling with clouds of dust.

After the second attack, Turkish lawmakers moved into the parliament shelter. When the third bomb hit parliament at 3:33 a.m., the deputies had taken shelter.

In the wake of the defeated coup, many foreign leaders visited the parliament building and saw with their own eyes the damage the coup-plotters had done.

On July 15, Turkey marks the second anniversary of the defeated coup attempt, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

According to the Turkish government, the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (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.

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