09:32 Aug. 8, 2016
Turkey abolished death penalty in 2002 to comply with E.U. criteria
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a rally of millions of people in Istanbul on August 7th that he would approve the death penalty if parliament voted for it, following last month's failed coup. Erdoğan started his speech at the "Democracy and Martyrs' Rally" against the July 15th coup attempt by thanking the people who stood against the tanks and planes used by the coup plotters.
He wished his condolences to the 240 people killed by coup soldiers, of whom 172 were civilians, 63 were police officers and five were soldiers. He also wished a speedy recovery to the 2,195 wounded.
During Erdoğan's speech, the crowd repeatedly shouted that they wanted death penalty to be reintroduced. "If the parliament accepts the reintroduction of death penalty, I will accept it," he told the crowd, adding that the death penalty exists in the U.S., Japan and "many other countries."
"If the people want death penalty, I think the political parties will also accept it," he also said, as he noted that the death penalty existed until 1984 in Turkey.
Erdoğan said the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, who is blamed for the coup attempt three weeks ago, must be destroyed within the framework of the law. Saying that the people showed that they won't accept slavery on the night of the failed coup bid, Erdoğan added that Gülen movement calculated many mischiefs, but couldn't take the people into account.
"Night of July 15th coup bid showed this country cannot be undone.Our presence today upsets our enemies just like it did on the morning of July 16th," Erdoğan said.