Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday gave signals that Turkey might reinstate capital punishment in the wake of Friday’s failed coup attempt.
Erdogan spoke to his supporters in front of his Istanbul home Sunday evening. His speech was punctuated by frequent calls of “we want the death penalty” from the large crowd, to which Erdogan responded: “We hear your request. In a democracy, whatever the people want they will get.”
The Turkish president said government officials would be in contact with Turkey’s opposition parties to reach a position on capital punishment, adding, “We will not delay this decision for long. Because those who attempt a coup in this country must pay.”
Turkey hasn’t executed anyone since 1984 and capital punishment was legally abolished in 2004 as part of its bid to join the European Union.
The Turkish government also accelerated its crackdown on alleged plotters of the failed coup, with Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag saying Sunday that 6,000 people had been detained in the investigation, including three of the country’s top generals and hundreds of soldiers.
In addition, dozens of arrest warrants were issued for judges and prosecutors deemed to be government opponents.
The government also dismissed nearly 3,000 judges and prosecutors from their posts, while investigators were preparing court cases to send the conspirators to trial on charges of attempting to overthrow the government.
“The cleansing (operation) is continuing. Some 6,000 detentions have taken place. The number could surpass 6,000,” Bozdag said in televised comments.
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