Turkey last week commemorated the second anniversary of an abortive coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that left nearly 290 people dead and hundreds wounded.
On July 15, 2016, renegade factions within the military used tanks, warplanes and helicopters in an attempt to overthrow President Erdogan.
Clashes took place in Istanbul, Ankara and Marmaris, where Erdogan was on holiday and barely escaped capture. Fighter jets bombed parliament and other spots in Turkey's capital.
Turkey has blamed U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen for being behind the coup attempt. For many observers Gulen is seen a CIA asset living in USA since 1999. Tellingly, Gulen was given permanent residence in the US at the recommendation of three former CIA operatives [Wikipedia].
Some 150,000 people have been sacked or suspended from jobs in the civil service and private sector and more than 50,000 detained for links to the putsch. On July 13, the government said it had dismissed 7,000 more police, civil servants and academics for suspected links to Gulen.
President Erdoğan: West hypocritical on freedoms, rights
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized last week the West for having double standards and being hypocritical on rights and freedoms when it comes to Turkey. Speaking in Ankara during an event marking the failed coup attempt, Erdoğan commented on the recent decision by the United States to ban banners on July 15 and some European countries' banning Turkish ministers from attending July 15 events organized by the Turkish community.
"We see the U.S. does not allow July 15 posters displayed on subways. We see similar things in Europe. We went to the G20 summit and wanted to meet our citizens in hall meetings. The applications were submitted, however, they did not allow the president of Turkey, they did not allow the ministers. When it comes to it, they talk about freedoms. What kind of freedom is this?" Erdoğan said.
Vowing that the fallen victims and those injured on July 15 will not be forgotten, Erdoğan also said those aiding-and-abetting coup plotters will not be forgotten, nodding toward Gulenist Terror Group (FET-) members who have not been extradited by some EU countries and the United States.
"The West asked documents from us. What more documents do you want? We have 250 martyrs and 2,193 veterans. What documents are you talking about?" he added. Ankara says that concrete evidence has been submitted to Western allies for the extradition of FET- members in their countries; however due to political reasons, there have been no legal steps taken against FET- members.
22 world leaders attend Erdogan's inauguration
On July 9, 2018, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was sworn in under the country's new presidential system. Twenty-two heads of state attended, including key Ankara allies such as Qatar, Venezuela and numerous Balkan and sub-Saharan African states.
new term promises to seek to revive Turkey's influence on the regional and
world stage after years of turmoil that saw a coup attempt in 2016 and widening
Turkish involvement in the conflict in Syria.
Turkish media highlighted the attendance of the 22 foreign heads of state as well as "special friends" such as former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Tunisia Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi.
In the Balkans, where Turkey's influence is a remnant of Ottoman-era rule, Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Moldova, Kosovo and Bulgaria sent their presidents. In Africa, Turkey has sought to widen its influence, and the leaders of Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Zambia, Somalia, Sudan and Mauritania came. Ankara's key ally, the emir of Qatar, also came, as did Pakistan. The only high-level leader from the Americas in attendance was Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro.
Prime Minister of Russia Dimitry Medvedev and Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah also attended the inauguration of President Erdogan.
On June 24, 2018, Turkish voters re-elected President Erdoğan to another term in office in elections whose outcome is likely to shape the country for years or even decades to come.