Erdogan Pledges Support for Death Penalty at Last Turkey Anti-Coup Rally
Turkey is ready to reinstate the death penalty, given the people’s will, Turkish Presidet Recep Tayyip Erdo?an has reiterated.
“If the nation is demanding capital punishment, the decision will be taken by the national assembly. After [it does], the next steps to be taken are obvious,” the head of state has told a huge crowd on Istanbul’s Yenikapi square, where the final unity rally was staged, three weeks after the failed coup d’etat in Turkey.
Authorities estimate the number of people who attended at several million. State broadcaster TRT has been airing the event since the afternoon.
Citing atrocities done against civilians during the coup, Erdo?an has asked rhetorically whether after all the violence on July 15 into 16 it was acceptable to point out that the EU does not apply capital punishment as an argument not to reintroduce it.
He has also expressed his optimism that all political parties in Parliament will help to change the constitution.
He has called for the destruction of “FETO”, the name used by authorities to refer to the movement of Fethullah G?len which Ankara blames for the coup attempt and sees as a terrorist organization.
"We must fortify our system against this treacherous gang. Whether they are called FETO, PKK, Daesh doesn't matter... They all are the enemies of the Turkish state and the Turkish nation."
But he has also praised Turks for resisting the attempted coup.
“FETO worked out many treacherous plans, but could not foresee this nation would react this way.”
Erdo?an has also drawn a parallel between himself and Mustafa Kemal Atat?rk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, quoting him as saying in the early 1920s when the Ottoman Empire was imposed tough conditions following the end of World War Two:
“[He said:] "This question should be asked to a nation: whether they will accept to be servants or slaves." I am asking the same question 96 years later.”
Leaders of all parliamentary parties, with the exception of the People’s Democracy Party (HDP), which was not invited, have also held speeches, alongside Turkish Armed Forces' Chief of Staff, Gen Hulusi Akar and Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m, speaking before Erdogan, has said that "every coup that does not kill us makes us stronger."
"The leader of the terrorist organization ["FETO"] will come to Turkey and be held responsible," he has made clear.
The leader of Turkey's biggest opposition party, the CHP, has praised the response to the coup as giving way to "new Turkey".
Reading out a 12-point "roadmap", Kemal K?l??daro?lu has pointed to several areas where the Turkish society has to put in more effort after the coup. These include equality against the law, the importance of democratic institutions and the rule of law, and education.
The failed military coup also stressed the importance of secularism and the need to always keep the army, politics and religion separated fom each other, he has added.
"This was an attempted coup against you, against us, against all of us... [but] has opened the door of reconciliation and consensus."
Nationalist MHP party's leader Devlet Bah?eli has also praised Turkish unity.
"Despite the fact they are trying to set us against each other, we have stood with courage.
against traitors, you have given a lesson.
You are announcing the good word of Turkey being born again."
Drawing a parallel between people who fought for Turkey throughout history and citizens who took to the streets after the attempt began, he has noted: "They became martyrs, just like you."
There is no option but to "get rid of the elements within this nation, the elements of the G?lenist Terrorist Organization," he has added.
In a rare public appearance, TSK Chief of Staff for his part has made clear that the coup plotters will be imposed "the heaviest penalty."
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