President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is defiant in his claim that the death penalty may be possible for the “terrorists” who attempted the failed military coup. This comes despite warnings that the use of capital punishment will dash Turkey’s opportunity to join the European Union.
President Erdogan called the coup a “clear crime of treason.” He states that the Turkish people want the coup members punished, “The people now have the idea, after so many terrorist incidents, that these terrorists should be killed, that’s where they are, they don’t see any other outcome to it.
“Why should I keep them and feed them in prisons, for years to come? That’s what the people say,” he said. “They want a swift end to it, because people lost relatives, lost neighbours, lost children … they’re suffering, so the people are very sensitive and we have to act very sensibly and sensitively.”
The president did give a chilling promise over the weekend that plotters “will pay a heavy price for this act of treason.”
Approximately 8,777 officers from the Turkish Ministry of Interior have been removed from office, among them are 103 generals and admirals, a third of the general-rank command of the country’s military. Teachers have even faced dismissal as 21,000 have been fired so far and suspension has been demanded of university deans.
It would however take a parliamentary decision to reintroduce the death penalty, the president went on, “Leaders will have to get together and discuss it and if they accept to discuss it then I as President will approve any decision that comes out of the parliament.”
Turkey removed the death penalty in 2002 for peacetime crimes then implementing a total ban in 2004 as part of human rights reforms to possibly enter the European Union.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini stated that Turkey would have no chance of entering the European Union if the death penalty was introduced.