Democracy & National Unity Day

Last Updated on April 29, 2024

Democracy and National Unity Day is one of the newest national holidays in Turkey, celebrated to honor those who heroically defended democracy and national sovereignty against the coup attempt on July 15th, 2016.

Around the nation, speeches and parades are held in honor of and celebration of this memorable day.

How is Democracy and National Unity Day Celebrated?

The date is marked as a memorial to those who lost their lives during the tragic night following the failed coup, thanks to the courageous acts of Turkish citizens on July 15th, 2016.


On the day of the memorial, President Erdogan visits the families of those who lost their lives during the failed coup and addresses the country. Parades, exhibitions, and celebrations are held to honor the day's importance. 

Schools are decorated a week prior, and poems and artworks are exhibited depicting the tragic night and brave deeds of Turkish citizens throughout the week. 

Girl holding Turkish flag

How is Public Life Affected?

Democracy and National Unity Day, celebrated on July 15th every year, is a public holiday in Turkey, meaning government offices will not be open that day. 


Also, public transportation might be affected depending on the day's schedule. You may want to avoid going to the July 15 Kızılay National Will Square in Ankara and the Bosphorus Bridge, now known as the 15 July Martyrs Bridge, as they will be the most popular locations to commemorate July 15th.


However, you shouldn't have difficulty finding restaurants, cafes, hotels, or other private establishments or getting to the beach to enjoy a relaxing day away from the city. 

History of Democracy and National Unity Day

On July 15th, 2016, a group in the army, allegedly controlled by the FETÖ organization and Fetullah Gulen, tried to overturn the government controlled by Erdogan in a sudden nighttime coup. President Erdogan made a Facetime call on national television and encouraged citizens to protest in the streets and airports to defend the sovereignty and democracy of their country. 


Many citizens moved to the streets to stand against the army and protest the attempted coup fearlessly. As a result, more than 300 people were killed, thousands were injured, and the coup was successfully stopped. 


After the failed coup attempt, a state of emergency was imposed in the country and was prolonged for 2 years afterward. Many governmental and private institutions were investigated during that period, and those associated with the failed coup attempt were prosecuted. 


In 2017, Erdogan announced the date of the failed attempt would be celebrated to honor and remember the heroic acts of Turkish citizens and families of those who lost their lives.  

July 15th, Democracy and National Unity Day in Turkey

July 15th is a special date in Turkey, marking the first coup attempt in the country since the 1980 Turkish coup d'état. It reflects the desire for freedom and national sovereignty of Turkish citizens who fought heroically to stop the coup attempt on the tragic night.

Today, it is celebrated to remember the courageous acts of Turkish citizens and the importance of democracy and national unity. 

—by Can Turan

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