Thursday, August 22, 2019 | ePaper

Erdogan hails S-400 deal as Turkey marks 2016 coup bid

  • Print


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a rally to commemorate an attempted coup, at the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul on Monday.

AFP, Istanbul :
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday hailed the controversial delivery of a Russian missile defence system despite the threat of US sanctions, as Turkey marked the third anniversary of a bloody coup attempt.
Just days before the anniversary, the first batch of the Russian S-400 defence system was delivered to Turkey despite repeated US calls for them to cancel the deal or face punishment.
"We have begun to receive our S-400s. Some said, 'they cannot buy them'... God willing the final part of this (delivery) will be in April 2020," Erdogan told a crowd of several thousand in Ankara.
The anniversary comes at a difficult moment for Erdogan. He faces a weakened economy, worsening relations with NATO ally the United States over the S-400 purchase, and a humiliating loss for his party in the recent Istanbul local election.
In 2016, nearly 250 people were killed-excluding the coup-plotters-and more than 2,000 injured after a rogue military faction tried to wrest power from the president. Thousands took to the streets in response to Erdogan's call to defeat the uprising.
Relations with the West deteriorated after the coup bid, as Turkish officials accused the West of not giving Ankara sufficient support.
Over the same period, Erdogan has grown ever closer to Russian President Vladimir Putin, raising concerns in Europe and the United States.
Erdogan said Turkey's "next target was joint production with Russia" of the next missile defence system.
"We are taking every measure to make sure our people do not suffer the betrayal of 15 July again or something similar," Erdogan added.
Late Monday he travelled to Istanbul to inaugurate a museum dedicated to the failed coup, where he insisted on the importance of commemorating the putsch attempt to prevent "greater evils".
Ankara accuses former ally-turned-foe Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric exiled in the US, of having ordered the attempted coup. He lists his movement as a "terrorist" organisation.
Some 8,000 military personnel took part in the bid to overthrow Erdogan, backed by 35 fighter jets, three boats, 37 helicopters and 74 tanks, according to state news agency Anadolu.
Since 2016, tens of thousands of people have been detained while 150,000 public sector employees have been suspended or sacked over alleged links to Gulen.
Arrests continue
Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter that Turkey "sends a powerful message of unity and solidarity to the world: We will die but never let traitors and putschists destroy our country, our freedom and our dignity."
The day, known as "15 July" in Turkey, has become a national holiday.
Earlier on Monday Erdogan took part in a tense ceremony at parliament, which was bombed during the coup violence.
Arzu, who was among the thousands who came to see Erdogan speak in Ankara, said she was there to "honour our martyrs", adding: "Without them, we would not be alive."
Anadolu reported Sunday that 110 suspected Gulen movement members have been extradited to Turkey from more than 20 countries.
Hundreds of life sentences have been handed down against accused putschists.
There are still almost daily police raids to capture suspects accused of ties to Gulen.

More News For this Category

Iran unveils home-grown missile defence system

Iran unveils home-grown missile defence system

AFP, Tehran :Iran unveiled its new home-grown air defence system on Thursday at a time of increased tensions with the United States.Iranian officials have previously called Bavar-373 the Islamic republic's

Russia sends 'Fedor' its first humanoid robot into space

Russia sends 'Fedor' its first humanoid robot into space

AFP, Moscow :Russia on Thursday launched an unmanned rocket carrying a life-size humanoid robot that will spend 10 days learning to assist astronauts on the International Space Station.Named Fedor, for

Syrian government opens corridor for civilians in rebel area

Syrian government opens corridor for civilians in rebel area

AP, Damascus :Syria's Foreign Ministry says a "humanitarian corridor" has been opened so that civilians in a besieged, rebel-held area in the north of Hama province can leave.The ministry said

N Korea dismisses nuclear talks if US 'hostile military moves' continue

N Korea dismisses nuclear talks if US 'hostile military moves' continue

AFP, Seoul :North Korea said Thursday it has "no interest" in dialogue unless Washington stops "escalating hostile military moves", as a senior US envoy visited Seoul with an eye on

Putin says US missile test raises new threats to Russia

Putin says US missile test raises new threats to Russia

AP, Helsinki :Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that the test of a new U.S. missile banned under a now-defunct arms treaty has raised new threats to Russia and will

News In Brief

Rebels claim downing US drone over YemenAP, Cairo Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed they shot down a U.S. drone over the country's north, as a leading rights group said Wednesday the

Macron to discuss Kashmir with Modi  ahead of G7 Summit

Macron to discuss Kashmir with Modi ahead of G7 Summit

AFP, Paris :French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss tensions in the divided region of Kashmir with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the two meet in Paris this week, a

Johnson, Merkel to face off in first Brexit talks

Johnson, Merkel to face off in first Brexit talks

AFP, Berlin :British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Berlin on Wednesday to kick off a marathon of tense talks with key European and international leaders as the threat of a

Trump scraps Denmark visit after Danes say Greenland not for sale

Trump scraps Denmark visit after Danes say Greenland not for sale

US President Donald Trump Tuesday postponed a planned visit to Denmark after Danish officials insisted its autonomous territory of Greenland was not for sale.Trump's decision confirms just how interested he

Australia joins US-led mission to protect Gulf shipping

Australia joins US-led mission to protect Gulf shipping

Reuters, Sydney Australia will join the United States in a security mission to protect merchant vessels traveling through key Middle East waterways after Iran seized a British-flagged vessel, Prime Minister