Key events in Turkey since attempted coup

People wave Turkey's national flags during the Democracy and Martyrs Rally, organized by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan PHOTO: REUTERS

People wave Turkey's national flags during the Democracy and Martyrs Rally, organized by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan PHOTO: REUTERS

ANKARA: Turkey held huge rallies Sunday in a show of unity with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after last month’s failed coup which he says was plotted by US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.

Erdogan has launched a sweeping crackdown on alleged coup plotters, with more than 60,000 people from the military, judiciary, civil service and education dismissed, detained or under investigation for suspected links to the Gulen movement.

Gulen has denied the charges and the mass purge has strained Turkey’s relations with its Western allies.

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Here is a recap of the key events as they unfolded.

FRIDAY, JULY 15: Around 11:00 pm, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim denounces an attempt to overthrow the government after mutinous soldiers block Istanbul bridges over the Bosphorus.

Just before midnight, a group calling itself the “Council for Peace in the Homeland” declares martial law and a curfew as its troops deploy in Istanbul and Ankara.

Erdogan calls on the nation from a seaside resort in Marmaris to oppose the coup, speaking via a FaceTime cellphone link broadcast by CNN-Turk television.

Tens of thousands of citizens respond to Erdogan’s call and huge crowds confront the putschists. Bloody clashes break out between the two sides.

SATURDAY, JULY 16: Erdogan flies to Istanbul where a large crowd awaits, and declares the coup plotters guilty of “treason” and accuses them of ties to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

In Pennsylvania, Gulen condemns the coup and rejects charges he orchestrated it.

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Interim army chief of staff General Umit Dundar says the putsch has been defeated. Jubilant crowds pour onto the streets of Istanbul to show support for Erdogan, who demands that the US expel Gulen.

SUNDAY, JULY 17: Erdogan vows to crack down on Gulen backers and “to clean the virus from all state bodies”, while urging supporters to remain in the streets.

He suggests Turkey might reinstate the death penalty, which was officially abolished in 2004.

MONDAY, JULY 18: The European Union, NATO, and the United States warn Turkey to respect the rule of law after the start of a massive crackdown on suspected plotters.

European leaders warn that reinstating capital punishment would end Turkey’s hopes of joining the EU.

TUESDAY, JULY 19: A purge that began with rebel army units and officers quickly spreads to all sectors suspected of being infiltrated by Gulen supporters, including the justice and education ministries and religious organisations.

Licences are scrapped for television and radio stations linked to Gulen.

A spokesperson for US President Barack Obama says he is “willing to provide appropriate assistance to Turkish authorities investigating the attempted coup”.

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Secretary of State John Kerry adds Turkey must send “evidence, not allegations” in its demand for Gulen’s extradition.

JULY 20: Erdogan returns to Ankara for the first time since the attempted coup, and shortly before midnight declares a three-month state of emergency.

JULY 23: Erdogan’s cabinet decrees that police can now hold suspects for one month without charge. Turkey disbands the elite presidential guard after detaining almost 300 of its members.

JULY 24: Thousands of Turks, including Erdogan’s ruling Islamic-conservatives and the opposition secular camps, gather in Istanbul for the first cross-party rally to condemn the coup attempt.

JULY 28: Turkey reshuffles key military commanders, sacking almost half of its generals.

JULY 29: Authorities detain three top tycoons as part of investigations into Gulen’s activities.

JULY 30: Erdogan says he wants to introduce constitutional changes to bring the spy agency and military chief of staff directly under his control.

JULY 31: Tens of thousands of Erdogan supporters rally in the German city of Cologne.

AUGUST 2: Erdogan accuses Western countries of supporting “terror” and the coup plotters, saying the failed putsch was a “scenario written from outside”.

AUGUST 4: An Istanbul court issues an arrest warrant for Gulen.

AUGUST 7: Mass rallies mark the end of the daily protests held in a show of unity against the coup plotters.

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