Erdogan implies continuing with capital punishment, scrapping EU deal
An ongoing government purge and the possibility of bringing back the death penalty have sent shockwaves through Turkey's relations with Europe. (AFP/File)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan implied the possibility of withdrawing from the March EU-Turkey Statement on refugee affairs should the EU fail to go through with its undertakings on exempting Turkish citizens from visa prerequisites to enter union countries.
Speaking with Italian TV Rai News 24, Erdogan slammed EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini for comments she made in the immediate aftermath of the recent failed coup attempt, saying that “Mrs. Mogherini should first have come to Turkey. Now I ask: ‘What would be the reaction if the Italian parliament was bombed’?”
Erdogan called for Mogherini to express empathy for the Turkish people and the state in the wake of the crisis.
He said: “What would Mogherini say as an Italian? Would she say, ‘They did well. How will the judicial process go on? I am concerned about it?’ When an incident happens in Belgium or in Paris, when five or 10 people get killed, they all crowd together, don’t they? They wonder what has happened. A coup against democracy was staged in Turkey, and now we have 238 martyrs. Unfortunately no one from Europe, the EU or the [European] Council came to Turkey.”
His comments follow Mogherini’s remarks, who just days after the attempted overthrow of the Turkish government, demanded Ankara adhere to the country’s Constitution as it investigates those behind the attempted coup.
The followers of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen are accused of using moles inside the Turkish military and government.
“Does the West take the side of democracy or coup? I think that they take the side of coup,” Erdogan said.
Regarding concerns about a possible reinstatement of the death penalty for those involved in the failed takeover, Erdogan reiterated his stance that the decision would be left up to Turkish lawmakers but he cited a strong desire by the Turkish public for capital punishment.
Erdogan slammed western governments’ attitude towards Turkey following the overthrow attempt: “All viruses inside the Turkish Armed Forces, police and judiciary and all state establishments should be removed. Does the West take the side of democracy or coups and terror? Unfortunately, the West does support terrorism and stands by coups.”
“We don’t have a death sentence in Turkey. Countries that still have a death sentence include the U.S., Japan, China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iran, Pakistan, Taiwan, Belarus, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and the Bahamas. Only EU member countries don’t have a death penalty. Are our people demanding it? Yes. Almost 75 percent of public opinion polls show this demand,” he said.
Erdogan emphasized that he will accede to the decision of Parliament.