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'New Turkey' finds founding myth in failed coup

The political narrative about the failed July 15 coup attempt is entering Turkey’s textbooks as the core of a new shape of Turkish nationalism.
Soldiers guard coffins of victims of the thwarted coup during a funeral service in Ankara, Turkey, July 17, 2016.       REUTERS/Baz Ratner - RTSIDQK

Turkey's more than 18 million students began school in mid-September this year as usual. Unlike normal times, however, they began their education year not with an introduction to mathematics or science, but rather by learning about the treachery the nation faced July 15 with the failed coup attempt.

Teachers gave an account of how Turkish democracy was attacked by the traitors within, while praising the “martyrs” who defeated them. In some schools, a "Martyrs Corner" was set up with the photos and stories of the 241 victims Turkey lost on the night of the attempted coup. Other schools arranged theatrical presentations where young students wore army uniforms to salute the brave soldiers who resisted the coup. Students also took oaths, vowing to “never forget this blessed saga that found life with the sacrifice of the martyrs.”

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