– The July 15 coup attempt was Turkey’s second War of Independence, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Sunday.
In his speech to crowds at a Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally in Istanbul, the premier compared the coup bid, which led to 240 deaths, to the 1919-23 conflict that gave birth to modern Turkey.
“They attempted to occupy our land disguised in Turkish military uniform and steal away the national will,” he said, referring to the coup supporters.
“Thank God and thanks to our martyrs lying honorably under the ground, today we are living on this land united as one, and with our honor, independence and solidarity intact.
“Every coup which does not kill us, makes us stronger. Just like here and now.”
The prime minister also praised the opposition Republican People’s Party and Nationalist Movement Party for their support for the national will and democracy.
Yildirim vowed to clear the country of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), which is held responsible for the coup attempt, and bring its alleged leader Fetullah Gulen to justice.
“The terrorist leader will come to Turkey and account for his [actions],” he told millions of people crowded into Yenikapi Square. “We will not act in revenge. We will abide by the law.”
The prime minister also vowed to maintain and boost the atmosphere of reconciliation between the government and opposition. “We will do our best to maintain this historic unity,” he said.
Ankara has accused U.S.-based Gulen of leading the putsch through his followers within the military.