We are approaching the anniversary of that painful, but at the same time very proud day, July 15, 2016, on which the nation overcame a terrible threat. Everything happened on an ordinary Friday evening almost a year ago. It was a hot summer day, the residents of Istanbul and Ankara went out in the evening, the traffic was congested and life was as typical as ever until those late hours, about which we will tell future generations that a turning point started…

As of 10 p.m., July 15, the country was almost occupied by a terrorist group that had infiltrated into the army. First the tanks went out on the bridges and streets, then F-16s started flying over our houses.

Dear Western friends, do you know what sound an F-16 makes while flying over a building? I had not known until that evening, but it will always haunt me now. Come on, let me tell you: You know the sound effect of a bomb effect is used after the bombardment alarm is given in war movies; that very sound occurs when F-16s fly close above. It is as if a bomb was dropped next to you, a noise and vibration that your ears cannot endure. You cannot know what is dropped and where it is dropped, but you hopelessly wait thinking that your turn may come at any moment. That is how we lived that night for 12 hours, without knowing where to hide my three-year-old daughters sleeping at home on the one hand, and standing up to protect our democracy and country in a worried but sure manner to ensure that the infiltrators would not succeed, on the other.

The Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), led by a pseudo-religious figure, desperado Fetullah Gülen, who lives in the U.S., attempted to stage a coup that pitilessly run over those people who stood up to the tanks and shot down people with fighter jets. However, it was not possible for FETÖ to succeed in an insurgency that had no base or legitimacy in society and against which the majority of the public resisted at the cost of their lives. At a point where people are deeply loyal to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, have gained self-confidence under his leadership and believe that the years-long sovereignty of the military has ended, and where the political institutions gained so much strength, the July 15 military coup attempt had to be repelled, and thankfully, was repelled.

However, that nightmarish night did not end easily and the victory was not gained easily. The students of the then Kuleli Military High School opened sharp shooter fire from the school like enemy troops in the Çengelköy district where we live, they went down to the city and killed many people. There were serious conflicts in front of the police station. Of course, it was not only in Çengelköy, but especially the then Bosporus Bridge (now called the July 15 Martyrs Bridge) connecting Europe and Asia was the point where the greatest loss was experienced. The wild-eyed coup plotters ran tanks over people who embraced democracy, bombed Parliament, besieged the Presidential Palace and attempted to kill Erdoğan in an air raid on the hotel where he was vacationing.

July 15 is a great national epic. The epic of a nation that embraces its own will and leader… We need to well explain it to you, our western friends. That night, regardless of what political view they had, everyone living in this country barely escaped with their life and the fight against one of the most insidious organizations in history started the following day. This fight is still ongoing. If you want to stand by democracy, elected leaders and civil politics, do not underestimate what was experienced that night and support this struggle.