Erdogan vows to bring back the death penalty

Turkish President declares his government would ask parliament to consider reintroducing the death penalty, as punishment for coup plotters.

Ben Ariel ,

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said his government would ask parliament to consider reintroducing the death penalty, as punishment for the plotters behind the July coup bid, AFP reported.

"Our government will take this (proposal on capital punishment) to parliament. I am convinced that parliament will approve it, and when it comes back to me, I will ratify it," the Turkish president said at a ceremony in Ankara.

"Soon, soon, don't worry. It's happening soon, God willing," he added, as crowds chanted, "We want the death penalty!"

Capital punishment was abolished in Turkey in 2004 as the nation sought accession to the European Union.

After the failed bid to unseat Erdogan on July 15, the leader had threatened to bring the death penalty back for the coup plotters, stunning EU leaders.

Since the failed coup, Turkey has detained thousands of policemen, military officials, judges and prosecutors, and shut down the presidential guard regiment.

As well, Erdogan announced a state of emergency shortly after the coup attempt.

On Saturday, Erdogan scoffed at the West's warnings on the reintroduction of the death penalty.

"The West says this, the West says that. Excuse me, but what counts is not what the West says. What counts is what my people say," he said, according to AFP.

The Turkish president also referred to Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, who lives in exile in the United States, and who Erdogan has accused of masterminding the attempt to oust him.

"What are you doing in Pennsylvania, Go on, come here! Why don't you come home?" Erdogan added.

Gulen, who leads from exile a popular movement called Hizmet and split from Erdogan over a corruption scandal in 2013, has denied involvement in the coup and has hinted that the uprising by members of the country’s military could have been “staged” by the government.

Erdogan's government has repeatedly called on the U.S. to extradite Gulen.