Thursday, 15 April 2021 04:19 GMT

Erdogan says if people want death penalty parties will abide

(MENAFN - The Peninsula) This handout picture taken and released by the Turkey's Presidential Press Service on August 7, 2016 at Yenikapi district of Istanbul shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) shaking hands with leader of the Republican People's Party Kemal Kilicdaroglu (L) before attending a rally held to protest against the July 15 failed coup. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Istanbul today for a pro-democracy rally organised by the ruling party, bringing to an end three weeks of demonstrations in support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after last month's failed coup. AFP PHOTO / TURKEY'S PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE

Ankara: If the Turkish public want the death penalty following last month's failed coup then political parties will follow their will, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a rally in Istanbul on Sunday.

"If the nation makes such a decision (in support of death penalty), I believe political parties will abide by this decision," Erdogan said during a unity rally in Yenikapi square in the touristic Sultanahmet district.

"It is the Turkish parliament that will decide on this (death penalty) given the sovereignty rests with the nation... I declare it in advance, I will approve the decision made by the parliament," Erdogan said.

He attacked critics who said there was no death penalty in the EU, of which Turkey is a candidate nation, countering that capital punishment is used in the United States, Japan and China.

"Today there is the death penalty in the majority of the world," he said, adding that capital punishment had been legal in Turkey until 2004, though the last execution took place in 1984.

Speaking to crowds of hundreds of thousands of people, Erdogan insisted that the state would be cleansed of all members of the Gulen movement "within law".

He added: "They will pay a price for what they have done," referring to the movement run by US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.

Gulen is accused by Ankara of leading a terrorist organisation and of ordering the July 15 coup attempt during which at least 273 people were killed including 34 coup plotters.

He denies all accusations and the movement insists it promotes moderate Islam, charity and education.


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