Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said his government would ask parliament to consider reintroducing the death penalty as a punishment for the plotters behind the July coup bid.
“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,” Erdogan said at an inauguration ceremony in Ankara.
“Soon, soon, don’t worry. It’s happening soon, God willing,” he said, as attending 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.
Relations between Brussels and Ankara have been strained since Turkey responded to the coup by launching a relentless crackdown against alleged plotters in state institutions, amid calls from the EU to act within the rule of law.
On Saturday, Erdogan scoffed at the West’s warnings on 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, during a ceremony to inaugurate a high-speed train station in the Turkish capital.
More than 35,000 people have been arrested in the crackdown unleashed after the failed coup, according to official data.
Ankara accuses exiled Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen of masterminding the coup -- a claim he denies.
Erdogan’s government has also repeatedly called on the United States, where Gulen lives, to extradite him.