Ankara: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday announced that he was ready to reinstate the death penalty “if the people demand it”, following the recent attempted coup on July 15.
He made the remarks while addressing supporters outside his Istanbul residence who were chanting for capital punishment to be restored, BBC reported.
The President said Turkey was “a democratic state run by the rule of law”. He said he was ready to reinstate the death penalty if the Turkish people demanded it and parliament approved the legislation, adding “You cannot put aside the people’s demands,” the BBC quoted Erdogen as saying “Today is there no capital punishment in America? In Russia? In China? In countries around the world? Only in European Union (EU) countries is there no capital punishment,” he added.
Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 as part of its bid to become a member of the EU. At least 232 people were killed and 1,400 wounded in fighting after rebel troops sealed off bridges in Istanbul, surrounding the city’s Ataturk airport and stationed tanks outside the presidential palace in Ankara. Many later surrendered.
Officials have blamed the unrest on the US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen and the “parallel structure” he has formed to topple the government, the BBC added. Following the attempt, the Turkish Interior Ministry has dismissed almost 9,000 police officers on Monday as part of a purge of officials suspected of involvement in the coup attempt. That followed the arrest of 6,000 military personnel and suspension of almost 3,000 judges over the weekend.