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Friday July 21st, 2017 6:39PM

The Latest: Opposition criticizes Turkish govt over coup

By The Associated Press
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ISTANBUL (AP) — The Latest on the first anniversary since Turkey quashed last summer's coup attempt (all times local):

3:40 p.m.

Two opposition parties have slammed the Turkish government for missing a historic opportunity to unite the country after last summer's failed coup attempt and accused it of undermining democracy.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party, said the July 15, 2016, coup attempt had not been fully investigated. He criticized the government for making the state of emergency imposed in its aftermath "permanent."

Ahmet Yildirim, deputy chairman of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, said the post-coup crackdown targeted "people and institutions who were against the coup and who did not belong to the ruling party." A dozen of the party's parliamentarians, including its co-leaders, are in prison.

They were speaking at a special parliamentary session commemorating the first anniversary of the failed coup.

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3:10 p.m.

NATO's secretary general says on the first anniversary of Turkey's failed coup that any attempt to undermine democracy in any one of the allied countries is "unacceptable."

Jens Stoltenberg on Saturday also paid homage to about 250 people who lost their lives resisting the failed attempt. He praised the Turkish people who took to the streets and "stood up against this heinous act in defense of its elected government and democratic institutions."

Rogue soldiers within the Turkish army attempted to overthrow the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan using tanks, warplanes and helicopters on July 15 last year. The coup plotters bombed the country's parliament and other state buildings.

Stoltenberg said: "(I) still remember the shock I felt seeing the damage inflicted at the Parliament building by the bombardments of the coup plotters."

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2 p.m.

Turkey has dismissed almost 7,400 civil servants for alleged links to terror groups in a government decree, the latest in a wave of dismissals since authorities quashed a coup attempt last summer.

Teachers, academics, military and police officers were sacked late Friday, including former Istanbul governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu who was jailed last August for alleged links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Turkey blames Gulen for masterminding the July 15 coup attempt but he denies the allegations.

The country imposed a state of emergency following the coup, allowing the government to rule by decrees. The latest wave of dismissals brings the number of fired civil servants to more than 110,000 people. The order reinstated 313 people to their jobs.

The government decree also stripped nearly 350 soldiers of their ranks and former national soccer team players Hakan Sukur and Arif Erdem of their medals.

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1:30 p.m.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is attending a special session in parliament to mark one year since authorities quashed last summer's coup attempt.

Recounting the events of July 15, 2016, Ismail Kahraman, speaker of the Turkish parliament, said the Turkish people defeated the coup.

During the coup F-16 fighter jets piloted by plotters bombed Turkey's parliament 11 times, forcing members of parliament who convened for an emergency session to seek shelter in the basement.

Some 250 people were killed in the failed coup attempt, and more than 2,000 were injured.

A state of emergency declared in the coup's aftermath is still in place, allowing the government to rule by decrees.

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12:10 p.m.

Turkey is commemorating the first anniversary of quashing last summer's coup attempt with events over the weekend in Istanbul and Ankara.

Thousands are expected at "national unity marches" in the two cities, and speeches are planned in parliament and at an iconic Istanbul bridge.

Turkish soldiers attempted to overthrow the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan using tanks, warplanes and helicopters on July 15 last year. The coup plotters bombed the country's parliament and other locations but their attempt failed.

Heeding a call by the president and ignoring a curfew announced by the coup plotters, thousands of people went out on the streets to resist the coup. Some 250 people were killed and more than 2,000 were injured. Thirty-five coup plotters were also killed.

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