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Erdogan Signals Turkey Could Restore Death Penalty Following Failed Coup

July 17, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan says his country would consider reinstating capital punishment in the wake of the July 15 failed military coup attempt.

Speaking on July 17, Erdogan said his government will discuss the use of the death penalty with opposition parties in parliament.

"In a democracy, you cannot ignore the demands of the people," Erdogan said to a crowd of supporters who were calling for the death penalty outside his residence in Istanbul.

"We will not delay this decision for long. Because those who attempt a coup in this country must pay," Erdogan said.

Capital punishment has not been used in Turkey since 1984 and was abolished in 2004 to meet European Union accession criteria.

Meanwhile, Turkish authorities have detained more than 6,000 people over the failed coup attempt, as Erdogan pledged that the "cleansing" of state institutions will continue.

Speaking at a funeral in Istanbul on July 17, Erdogan vowed to "clean all state institutions of the virus" of supporters of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames of being behind the plot.

Erdogan said Turkey would request the extradition of the cleric, who denies any involvement in the failed coup attempt.

Gulen lives in exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on July 16 that the Obama administration would consider an extradition request for Gulen but would only comply if Washington was shown clear evidence of the cleric's involvement in the coup.

Erdogan also his supporters to continue to occupy public places and take to the streets in the days ahead.

The arrests included high-ranking military officers and 2,700 judges. More than 50 senior soldiers were detained on July 17.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag described the arrests as a "clean-up operation," saying the number is expected to rise.

Turkey's state-run news agency reported that authorities have issued a warrant for the arrest of Erdogan's top military aide.

The Anadolu Agency said on July 17 the warrant was issued against Colonel Ali Yazici. It wasn't immediately clear what role, if any, Yazici played in the attempted coup.

Officials say at least 265 people were killed in clashes as the coup failed.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on July 17 that life has returned to normal following the turmoil in Istanbul and the capital, Ankara.

He said the central bank, capital markets board, banking system, and stock exchange were all operating with their normal schedules.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the failed military coup attempt did not interrupt the fight against the extremist group Islamic State (IS).

Turkey, a major U.S. ally in the region, has allowed the United States to use an air base in Incirlik to launch attacks against the militant group.

Those air operations were blocked, at least temporarily, by the Turkish government following the coup.

The Pentagon said on July 17 that Turkish authorities have reopened the air base in Incirlik and U.S. led operations against IS have resumed from Turkey.

"After close coordination with our Turkish allies, counter-ISIL coalition air operations in Turkey have resumed," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said on Twitter.

Based on reporting by AP, dpa, and Reuters

Source: arrests-failed-coup/27863439.html

Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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