ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday expressed “solidarity” with Turkey as it marked the fifth anniversary of the 2016 failed coup.
More than 240 people, most of them unarmed civilians, were killed on the night of July 15 when a group of rogue soldiers commandeered tanks and warplanes in an attempt to attack parliament and overthrow President Tayyip Erdogan.
Since the coup attempt, Erdogan has embarked on a sweeping crackdown, jailing some 50,000 people and sacking or suspending 150,000. Under the purge, Turkey shut down all of its military academies, schools that had been once seen as a pillar of the secular state.
Ankara blamed the network of Fethullah Gülen, a former ally of Erdogan, for orchestrating the coup. But Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, denied involvement and condemned the attempt.
“On behalf of the government and people of Pakistan, and on my own behalf, I would like to reaffirm our solidarity with the brotherly people and government of Turkey on the occasion of ‘Democracy and National Unity Day’,” Imran said in a message addressed to Erdogan.
Message addressed to H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan (@RTErdogan), President of the Republic of Turkey from the Prime Minister of Pakistan, H.E. Mr. @ImranKhanPTI, on the occasion of Democracy and National Unity Day of Turkey
— Prime Minister’s Office, Pakistan (@PakPMO) July 15, 2021
“History will remember how five years ago, on this day, the Turkish people displayed their characteristic resilience and gallantry to defy those who wanted to target Turkey’s peace and stability as well as its democratic institutions,” the statement added.
“It was also the day when the entire Pakistani nation spoke with one voice against the attempt to undermine Turkey’s democracy and progress towards prosperity.”
The prime minister said that “today, the people of Pakistan join the people of Turkey in honouring the martyrs and supporting their families.”
“The historic, fraternal and multi-dimensional relations between Pakistan and Turkey are without parallel and have withstood the test of time,” he added.
“The people and the government of Pakistan reiterate their strong support for the government and the people of Turkey in their quest for national security, peace and prosperity, and as always, will continue to stand by them towards the achievement of these shared goals.”
“Our prayers and best wishes are with you and the people of Turkey in your march towards peace and prosperity, and ever greater glory,” he added.