Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he is ready to reinstate the death penalty if the Turkish people demand it and parliament approves the necessary legislation.
Erdogan spoke early on Tuesday to thousands of supporters outside his Istanbul residence who were chanting for Turkey to restore capital punishment following the failed coup.
“Today, is there no capital punishment in America? In Russia? In China? In countries around the world? Only in European Union countries is there no capital punishment,” Erdogan said.
The president added Turkey is “a democratic state run by rule of law”, and “you cannot put aside the people’s demands”.
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Parliament is expected to meet on Wednesday to discuss the issue.
European Union officials had warned that long-stalled talks on Turkey’s bid to join the EU would end if Ankara restores the death penalty.
Turkey abolished capital punishment in 2004 under reforms aimed at obtaining European Union membership.
Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Ankara, said leaders of the EU will be closely watching the death penalty discussion in Turkey.
“We do know when it comes to Turkey’s accession to the European Union, there has been a very clear message given to President Erdogan. The German Chancellor Merkel in a phone call said if the death penalty gets reinstated here, then that will no longer happen.”
Howard Eissenstat of St Lawrence University told Al Jazeera the president does not appear concerned about following the dictates of the West post-coup attempt.
“Erdogan isn’t particularly interested at joining the EU at this point … Were he to reinstate the death penalty, that in and of itself alone would be enough to scuttle any EU membership,” Eissenstat said.
Thousands of alleged coup plotters have been rounded up since Friday’s failed putsch, in which more than 260 people were killed.
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