Turkey mails bombed parliament debris in New Year cards
It’s a New Year’s card with a message. Turkey has mailed thousands of diplomats and journalists a fragment of its bomb-damaged parliament, along with its wishes for a happy year of democracy.
The national assembly in Ankara was hit by air strikes in July during a failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan which was blamed by the government on the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen.
“This piece of marble that fell from the wall of the grand national assembly of Turkey… is presented to you as a symbol of Turkey’s devotion to democracy,” says the New Year’s card received by AFP in Paris.
“I wish you a Happy New Year enjoying the fullest sense of democracy,” said a message from Mehmet Akarca, the press director for Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.
Erdogan was incensed by what he saw as a lack of solidarity from Western countries after the challenge to his rule, which critics see as increasingly authoritarian.
The European Union and the United States have both raised concerns about the arrest of tens of thousands of soldiers, judges, journalists and teachers in a vast post-coup purge.
The cards stating “Terrorism is a crime against humanity” and debris from the parliament have been sent to 4,000 diplomats and journalists around the world, the Turkish prime minister’s office said in a statement.
AFP’s arrived in a velour black case containing an angular piece of grey stone.
Others have also been sent to university heads, mayors and different non-government organisations in Turkey, the prime minister’s office said.