Turkey mulls reinstating death penalty: 'Coup organisers will have to pay the price'

Erdogan has repeated calls for the US to extradite Fethullah Gulen, blaming the coup on the US-based Islamic preacher and his followers. (AFP)

Erdogan has repeated calls for the US to extradite Fethullah Gulen, blaming the coup on the US-based Islamic preacher and his followers. (AFP)

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

“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 anymore because in this country, those who launch a coup will have to pay the price for it,” he told supporters after attending funerals for the putsch victims.

In the aftermath of Friday’s foiled coup, there have been frequent calls from thousands of Erdogan supporters for capital punishment to make a return.

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.

Erdogan repeated calls for the United States to extradite Fethullah Gulen, blaming the coup on the US-based Islamic preacher and his followers, which he describes as a “terrorist” organisation. 

‘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 impacted by its post-coup measures.

“First of all, we are grateful to all the countries and all the leaders who declare support to Turkey… we are grateful,” 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 co-operation with allies in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).

Gulen condemned the military uprising “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.

At least 6 000 people have been detained in Turkey in relation to a 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, shortly before clashes between security forces and coup plotters broke out in areas across the country.

Security forces fired warning shots near Istanbul’s second airport on the Asian side of the city but coup plotters did not return fire, a Turkish official told Reuters, adding that arrests were being made.

There were also clashes at an air base in Konya in central Turkey, the official said, adding that “the situation is under control”.

Among those arrested is General Bekir Ercan Van, commander of the Incirlik air base from which US aircraft launch airstrikes on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants in Syria and Iraq, an official told Reuters. - Al Jazeera 

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