Turkey marks the 1-year anniversary of failed coup attempt

Waving large red Turkish flags, tens of thousands joined a national unity march in Istanbul on Saturday, converging at the iconic July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge to mark the anniversary of the failed military coup attempt that 250 people died resisting.

As part of the commemoration, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew to Istanbul on Saturday and was photographed waving at a fighter jet escorting his aircraft. Accompanied by children wearing shirts with Turkish flags and relatives of the deceased, Erdogan then joined the crowd near the bridge where he was to unveil a Martyr’s Memorial to honor those who died opposing the coup.

“It has been exactly one year since Turkey’s darkest and longest night was transformed into a bright day, since an enemy occupation turned into the people’s legend,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said earlier in the day at a special parliamentary session in Ankara, the capital, attended by Erdogan.

Marches were also taking place in Ankara.

Turkish soldiers attempted to overthrow the government and the president using tanks, warplanes and helicopters on July 15, 2016. The coup plotters declared their seizure of power on the state broadcaster, bombed the country’s parliament and other key locations, and raided an Aegean resort where Erdogan had been on vacation. But Erdogan had already left and the coup attempt was put down by civilians and security forces.

The Bosporus Bridge, now called the July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge, was the scene of clashes between civilians and soldiers in tanks. Some 250 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured across Turkey in the struggle. Thirty-five coup plotters were also killed. (AP)

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People wave flags

People wave Turkey’s national flags as they attend a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the attempted coup at the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey, July 15, 2017. (Photo: Osman Orsal/Reuters)

President Erdogan greets the crowd

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine Erdogan greet their supporters as they arrive for a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the attempted coup at the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 15, 2017. (Photo: Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via Reuters)

People march

People from varied start points march to 15 July Martyrs Bridge to mark the defeated coup’s first anniversary in Istanbul, Turkey on July 15, 2017. (Photo: Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

People wave flags

People wave Turkey’s national flags as they attend a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the attempted coup at the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 15, 2017. (Photo: Murad Sezer/Reuters)

People choose portraits of victims killed

People choose portraits of victims killed during the attempted coup as they arrive to attend a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the coup at the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey, July 15, 2017. (Photo: Osman Orsal/Reuters)

People carry a flag

People walk to Republic Square from Konak Square as they attend July 15 Democracy and National Unity Day’s events to mark the July 15 defeated coup’s first anniversary in Izmir, Turkey on July 15, 2017. (Photo: Evren Atalay/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

People pose with a hangman’s knot

People pose with a hangman’s knot as they take part in the “National Unity March” to commemorate the one year anniversary of the July 15, 2016 botched coup attempt, in Istanbul, Saturday, July 15, 2017. (Photo: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

A man waves a flag

A man waves a Turkey’s national flag as he attends a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the attempted coup at the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 15, 2017. (Photo: Osman Orsal/Reuters)

A soldier watches over the crowd

People wave Turkey’s national flags as they attend a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the attempted coup at the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey, July 15, 2017. (Photo: Murad Sezer/Reuters)

A woman holds a portrait of President Erdogan

A woman holds a portrait of Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan during a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the attempted coup at the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 15, 2017. The words on the sign read: “We are here to be the slaves of the nation, not to be the master.” (Photo: Osman Orsal/Reuters)

People attend the ceremony

People wave Turkey’s national flags as they attend a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the attempted coup at the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey, July 15, 2017. (Photo: Murad Sezer/Reuters)

People wave flags

People wave Turkey’s national flags as they arrive to attend a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the attempted coup at the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey, July 15, 2017. (Photo: Murad Sezer/Reuters)

People attend the ceremony

People attend a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the attempted coup at the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey, July 15, 2017. (Photo: Osman Orsal/Reuters)

President Erdogan waves from inside his airplane

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from inside his airplane taking him from capital Ankara, Turkey to Istanbul to attend commemoration ceremonies for the one year anniversary of the July 15, 2016 botched coup attempt, waves to a pilot of a Turkey’s Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft, Saturday, July 15, 2017. (Photo: Presidency Press Service via AP, Pool)

People carry flags in Istanbul

People carry Turkish flags they walk towards the July 15 Martyr’s bridge on a “National Unity March” to commemorate the one year anniversary of the July 15, 2016 botched coup attempt, in Istanbul, Saturday, July 15, 2017. (Photo: Emrah Gurel/AP)

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