Turkey mulls death penalty after failed coup attempt

Turkey’s potential reintroduction of capital punishment could complicate its bid for EU membership.

Security guard the car of Turkish PM Yildirim before a funeral service for a victim of the thwarted coup in Ankara
Hundreds were killed in the failed coup attempt against the Turkish government [Osman Orsal/Reuters]

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey will consider reinstating the death penalty after the failed attempt to overthrow his government.

Erdogan calls on US to extradite cleric Gulen

“In democracies, decisions are made based on what the people say. I think our government will speak with the opposition and come to a decision,” he said on Sunday, reacting to crowds in Istanbul calling for capital punishment.

“We cannot delay this any more because in this country, those who launch a coup will have to pay the price for it,” he told supporters after attending funerals for victims of the coup attempt.

Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 under reforms aimed at obtaining European Union membership.

Reinstatement would create further issues between the EU and Ankara in the already stalled membership talks.

READ MORE: Turkey’s coup attempt captured in dramatic images 

Erdogan repeated calls for the United States to extradite Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Turkish businessman and cleric whom Turkey accuses of orchestrating the attempted coup. 

Gulen condemned the coup attempt “in the strongest terms” in a rare interview with reporters in Pennsylvania and rejected charges of being the coup mastermind, suggesting Erdogan may have staged it himself.

‘Our own jet fighters, our own weapons’

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Sunday, former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu dismissed concerns that Turkey’s relations with its allies could potentially be affected by its post-coup measures. 

“First of all, we are grateful to all the countries and all the leaders who declare support to Turkey,” he said. 

Yet, Davutoglu continued, the international community “must understand that Turkey’s facing … another terrorist organisation which used our own jet fighters, our own weapons against our people”.

He added that there is “no correlation” between Turkey’s current measures against alleged coup plotters and its cooperation with allies in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS). 

OPINION: The people defeated the coup in Turkey 

At least 6,000 people have been detained across the country in relation to the failed coup, with more detentions expected, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on national television on Sunday. 

“The judicial process on this will continue,” Bozdag said.

Among those arrested was General Bekir Ercan Van, commander of the Incirlik air base from which US aircraft launch air strikes on ISIL fighters in Syria and Iraq, an official told the Reuters news agency.

Inside Story – What’s behind Turkey’s failed coup?

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies