The Latest: Erdogan opens monument to victims of failed coup

The Latest on the first anniversary since Turkey quashed last summer's coup attempt (all times local):

6:40 a.m.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has inaugurated a monument in the capital Ankara honoring the some 250 people who were killed opposing last year's failed coup attempt against his rule.

The monument — depicting people standing on top of four slanted columns, carrying a moon and crescent — is situated opposite Erdogan's huge palace complex in Ankara.

Erdogan opened the "Martyrs' Memorial" just after dawn on Sunday, following morning prayers at a mosque inside the complex.

The president said in address to thousands attending the ceremony: "even if we have buried our martyrs in the ground, they will always live in our hearts. (The coup-plotters) will die over and over again every day while they fester behind prison walls."


5:15 a.m.

A camera-mounted drone has crashed while filming a ceremony outside of parliament marking the first anniversary of Turkey's failed coup.

The private Dogan news agency says seven people were slightly injured in the accident and were taken away on stretchers.

The accident occurred as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was addressing thousands of people in the early hours of Sunday.

He interrupted his speech to make sure medics attended those hurt and commented: "so, drones can fall sometimes."


4:50 a.m.

Cellphone users making calls on the first anniversary of Turkey's failed coup heard a message from the nation's president conveying them his good wishes.

Omer Fatih Sayan, the head of the information and communications authority, confirmed that President Recep Tayyip's Erdogan recorded message was being played before the calls.

Erdogan is heard saying in his message: "As your president I congratulate you on the July 15 Democracy and National Unity Day, I wish God's mercy and grace for our martyrs and good health for our veterans."

Some 250 people were killed while more than 2,000 others were injured after thousands of people, heeding Erdogan's call, took to the streets a year ago to confront the coup-plotters.


4:40 a.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the country's top security advisory body will discuss on Monday whether to further extend a state of emergency that was declared after last year's failed coup.

Erdogan also said he would approve "without any hesitation" any legislation that would be passed in parliament to reinstate the death penalty.

He was speaking outside of Turkey's parliament building in the early hours of Sunday at a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the July 15 coup that killed some 250 people who were trying to resist the attempt. Around 35 coup-plotters also died.

Turkey imposed the state of emergency days after the attempted insurgency to counter what government officials say is the continued threat from a movement led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen who is accused of orchestrating the coup. Gulen denies involvement.

Critics say the emergency powers are being used to go after all government opponents.


3:05 a.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has returned to the capital Ankara for a ceremony marking the moment parliament was bombed a year ago during the failed coup attempt.

Thousands of people have gathered outside the parliament in the early hours of Sunday, waving Turkish flags and holding up pictures of the 250 people who died confronting the coup-plotters. Turkey's top cleric recited a prayer for the victims.

Many marched to the building clutching a 3 kilometer- (1.86 mile) long flag, the Hurriyet newspaper reported.


11:45 p.m.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has opened a hollow, globe-shape monument in Istanbul honoring some 250 people who were killed a year ago while opposing coup-plotters trying to overthrow the government.

Erdogan inaugurated the structure, featuring the names of the "martyrs" on Saturday, as the nation marks the first anniversary of the coup attempt that was crushed by soldiers and police loyal to the government as well as by civilians who took to the streets.

The structure is situated at a park near the foot of the Bosporus Bridge, which has since been renamed the "Martyr's Bridge" to pay homage to people who were killed there while resisting the coup.

Erdogan is also scheduled to inaugurate a monument to pay tribute to the dead in the capital, Ankara.


11:15 p.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he wants hundreds of people who are on trial for plotting last year's failed coup to appear in court wearing the same type of outfit — similar to those that were worn by detainees at Guantanamo.

Erdogan made the announcement on Saturday as he addressed tens of thousands of flag-waving people at a ceremony commemorating some 250 who were killed while resisting last year's failed military coup.

His comment came days after a former soldier who is on trial accused of trying to capture or kill Erdogan on the night of the coup, appeared in court wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the word "hero," triggering an outcry.

Erdogan said: "These are still their good days. I have spoken with our prime minister and said 'when they appear in court, they should wear one type of outfit, like in Guantanamo.'"

Turkey says the coup was orchestrated by U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen and some 50,000 people have been arrested for alleged links to the failed takeover. Gulen denies involvement.


10:45 p.m.

Turkey's president has likened the defeat of last year's July 15 military coup attempt to Turkey's independence war nearly a hundred years ago.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday spoke before tens of thousands of people at an iconic Istanbul bridge, calling the botched overthrow of the government a "treacherous attempt." Erdogan said Turkey's citizens, following his call to resist, had saved Turkey's future.

Turkey has blamed U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen and his network for the coup try that killed 250 people resisting it and injured 2,193 others. Thirty-five coup plotters also died in clashes. Gulen has denied the claims.

Erdogan warned that the coup attempt "was not the first and would not be the last" and warned terror groups would work to undermine the country. "Therefore we will first rip their heads off," he said to cheering crowds, adding he would approve a bill reinstating the death penalty if parliament proposed it.


9:15 p.m.

Turkey's president has joined a massive flood of people in Istanbul commemorating the defeat of a coup attempt last year.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife are en route to unveil a memorial for the 250 people killed resisting the attempted overthrow of the government on July 15, 2016. Erdogan was marching with children wearing shirts with Turkish flags and relatives of the deceased.

Tens of thousands have been marching to the iconic July 15 Martyrs' Bridge where citizens, heeding a call by Erdogan to resist the coup, clashed with Turkish soldiers attempting the overthrow.

Crowds on Saturday were massing at the bridge via a major highway that was closed off for the commemorative event.


7 p.m.

Thousands of people are marching from several Istanbul neighborhoods to converge at the iconic July 15 Martyrs' Bridge in a "national unity march" to commemorate the anniversary of Turkey's failed coup attempt.

The bridge, then called the Bosporus Bridge, was closed off on the night of July 15, 2016, with three tanks wielded by 136 soldiers attempting to overthrow the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Thousands of people, heeding a call by Erdogan, took to the streets last year to stop the coup attempt and clashed with the coup plotters. At least 30 people died on the bridge and 220 others elsewhere, according to official publications. The soldiers surrendered at daybreak.

Erdogan is scheduled to join the crowds and inaugurate a memorial in honor of those killed.


3:40 p.m.

Two opposition parties have slammed the Turkish government for missing a historic opportunity to unite the country after last summer's failed coup attempt and accused it of undermining democracy.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party, said the July 15, 2016, coup attempt had not been fully investigated. He criticized the government for making the state of emergency imposed in its aftermath "permanent."

Ahmet Yildirim, deputy chairman of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, said the post-coup crackdown targeted "people and institutions who were against the coup and who did not belong to the ruling party." A dozen of the party's parliamentarians, including its co-leaders, are in prison.

They were speaking at a special parliamentary session commemorating the first anniversary of the failed coup.


3:10 p.m.

NATO's secretary general says on the first anniversary of Turkey's failed coup that any attempt to undermine democracy in any one of the allied countries is "unacceptable."

Jens Stoltenberg on Saturday also paid homage to about 250 people who lost their lives resisting the failed attempt. He praised the Turkish people who took to the streets and "stood up against this heinous act in defense of its elected government and democratic institutions."

Rogue soldiers within the Turkish army attempted to overthrow the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan using tanks, warplanes and helicopters on July 15 last year. The coup plotters bombed the country's parliament and other state buildings.

Stoltenberg said: "(I) still remember the shock I felt seeing the damage inflicted at the Parliament building by the bombardments of the coup plotters."


2 p.m.

Turkey has dismissed almost 7,400 civil servants for alleged links to terror groups in a government decree, the latest in a wave of dismissals since authorities quashed a coup attempt last summer.

Teachers, academics, military and police officers were sacked late Friday, including former Istanbul governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu who was jailed last August for alleged links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Turkey blames Gulen for masterminding the July 15 coup attempt but he denies the allegations.

The country imposed a state of emergency following the coup, allowing the government to rule by decrees. The latest wave of dismissals brings the number of fired civil servants to more than 110,000 people. The order reinstated 313 people to their jobs.

The government decree also stripped nearly 350 soldiers of their ranks and former national soccer team players Hakan Sukur and Arif Erdem of their medals.


1:30 p.m.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is attending a special session in parliament to mark one year since authorities quashed last summer's coup attempt.

Recounting the events of July 15, 2016, Ismail Kahraman, speaker of the Turkish parliament, said the Turkish people defeated the coup.

During the coup F-16 fighter jets piloted by plotters bombed Turkey's parliament 11 times, forcing members of parliament who convened for an emergency session to seek shelter in the basement.

Some 250 people were killed in the failed coup attempt, and more than 2,000 were injured.

A state of emergency declared in the coup's aftermath is still in place, allowing the government to rule by decrees.


12:10 p.m.

Turkey is commemorating the first anniversary of quashing last summer's coup attempt with events over the weekend in Istanbul and Ankara.

Thousands are expected at "national unity marches" in the two cities, and speeches are planned in parliament and at an iconic Istanbul bridge.

Turkish soldiers attempted to overthrow the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan using tanks, warplanes and helicopters on July 15 last year. The coup plotters bombed the country's parliament and other locations but their attempt failed.

Heeding a call by the president and ignoring a curfew announced by the coup plotters, thousands of people went out on the streets to resist the coup. Some 250 people were killed and more than 2,000 were injured. Thirty-five coup plotters were also killed.