ANKARA: Scores of Turks swarmed the steps of the parliament building here yesterday to commemorate the victory over an attempted coup which took place exactly a year ago.
The event was made all the more significant as Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered his address at 2.32am, the exact time when the parliament building was attacked and bombed by coup plotters on July 15 last year.
As thousands of Turks looked on, the facade of the parliament building served as a giant screen, which re-enacted the attack via a series of animated displays.
The display then showed the building being reconstructed, and ended with the faces of fallen Turks displayed on the structure, drawing roars from the mammoth crowd.
The event was also commemorated elsewhere in Turkey, with Turks turning out in full force in major cities, including Istanbul, to pay their respects to the 249 people who died defending the nation against the coup attempt.
In his address, Erdogan repeated his warning to the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation (Feto), the architects of the coup plot, that they will be caught and punished.
"There is nowhere for you to hide. You will not succeed. You will not divide us, nor tear down our flag or bring us to our knees.
"For thousands of years in this region, we have stood tall. We will continue to be strong, we will continue to be Turkey.
"If another attack were to take place tomorrow, we will still bring you (the traitors) down to your knees," he said, to roars of approval from the crowd, who chanted his name.
Erdogan also offered words of comfort to the mothers whose children were killed in the coup attempt.
"Mothers, put your tears away. Do not cry for those who will not come back. We will bring the traitors before you."
Erdogan also took aim at several Western nations whom he said had stood idle as the people of Turkey fought to protect their democracy.
"On July 15, 2016, we now know who our friends are," he said.
On that date last year, Turkey underwent one of its most bloody episodes on home soil when Feto members tried to stage a violent coup to overthrow the government.
The coup plotters had seized firearms as well as military vehicles such as jet fighters, helicopters and tanks to launch their attack.
Erdogan had then urged the Turkish people to take to the streets to defend their elected government and in turn, preserve their democracy. The call was answered by the Turks, who fought the coup plotters and led to the coup attempt ending within 22 hours.