Turkish embassy in US marks 7th anniversary of July 15 coup attempt

Turkish embassy in US marks 7th anniversary of July 15 coup attempt

Day marked in Türkiye as Democracy and National Unity Day

By Iclal Turan

WASHINGTON (AA) - A commemoration ceremony took place at the Turkish embassy in Washington, DC on Friday to observe the seventh anniversary of the 2016 defeated coup attempt in Türkiye.

The ceremony commenced with a moment of silence and the recital of the national anthem, followed by Quran recitation in honor of the victims.

The event was attended by a gathering of nearly 200 individuals, including numerous US officials, representatives from diplomatic missions of various countries, and 14 ambassadors.

US State Department Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources Geoffrey Pyatt, and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics Vice Admiral Ricky Williamson were among the attendees of the commemoration ceremony.

July 15 is observed in Türkiye as Democracy and National Unity Day.

Speaking at the event, Turkish Ambassador to the US Hasan Murat Mercan thanked the attendees to "commemorate those who made the ultimate sacrifice on July 15, 2016 while defending Turkish democracy".

"We are at an age and time where defending and reserving our democracy is ever more important. Otherwise, we will all fail to deliver a peaceful and prosperous future for our people," he said.

The ambassador said that FETO, the group behind the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, operates in around 160 countries, and principles of "reason and morality are set aside" in such terror organizations.

"FETO terrorist organization distinguishes itself under the pretext of social work, education, and business friendliness," he said, "In reality, only in the US they operate over 230 charter schools with over 800 million dollars annual revenue."

Mercan pointed out the concerning fact that hundreds of thousands of children in the US are being educated in these charter schools, cautioning both his "friends in the United States" and "in other societies as well" about the potential implications.

"How these people can inflict and will inflict their evil feelings, evil ideas, evil objectives to those innocent kids, innocent people?" Mercan asked.

"They are more threat to democracies than any other else," he said. "When they get a chance, they will try to break the democratic structures".

Congressman Ryan Zinke, who represents the state of Montana, sent a video message to the commemoration event, in which he wished a "happy Democracy and Unity Day".

Zinke also thanked Türkiye for its help with the refugees in Syria, and for recognizing Sweden as a NATO member.

"Turkey again remains a steadfast ally, important in negotiations of peace in the region," he added.

Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas said he was pleased to join the ceremony as a "strong supporter of Turkey and the relationship between our two great nations".

"Thank you for taking time to remember not only the past, but also the great relationship that can exist, will exist and must exist between our two great nations," he said.

Among the other speakers were Dr. Mohsin Ansari, the president of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Paolo Von Schirach, the president of the Global Policy Institute, Mark Meirowitz, the professor of Humanities at SUNY Maritime College, and Luke Coffey, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

FETO and its US-based leader, Fetullah Gulen, orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, in which 252 people were killed and 2,734 wounded.

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.

Gulen has lived in self-exile in the US near Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania since 1999.

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