Turkey’s Erdoğan: Are we ready for new July 15?

Turkey's autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a speech on Saturday promised to respond western powers in similar ways when they pressure Turkey and asked people to be ready for new coup attempts similar to controversial coup attempt on July 15 last year.

Addressing a gathering in Isparta province on Saturday where he went for series of opening ceremonies, Erdoğan said Turkish people must be ready to encounter enemy within and outside in similar way they ousted the coup attempt in July 15 last year.

Erdoğan also promised people to respond outside powers with better weapons and technology when they intend to attack Turkey.

“Are we ready for new Çanakkale [Gallipoli Campaign], War of Independence and July 15 [coup attempt] in this way? Are we ready to encounter those who encounter Turkey? Are we ready to put the back of those who wants to cut the power of Turkey?

Are we ready to encounter with better weapons and technology those who think that they can overcome Turkey with their weapons and technology?” he asked.

Erdoğan has also said once again on Saturday that he will immediately approve a bill reinstating the capital punishment in Turkey once it is passed in the parliament. Erdoğan underlined the issue has been repeatedly brought to the attention of the government by public and reassured that he will approve once it is passed by the parliament despite considering criticism from western world.

Afteer the crowd starting chanting slogans, saying “We demand death penalty!”, Erdoğan said “When this issue [of reinstating death penalty] comes to the parliament, I believe this will be passed [by the parties in the parliament]. Then, It will come to me and I will approve it. Without paying attention to who will say what. What will God say? I will look at it.”

The issue of reinstating capital punishment in Turkey has strained ties with the European Union after Erdoğan and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) suggested its reintroduction following a failed coup attempt last summer.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on March 19 that reinstatement of capital punishment in Turkey would “lead to the end of negotiations” with Ankara for its membership in the EU.

“Executing the death penalty is incompatible with membership of the Council of Europe,” said Daniel Holtgen, director of communications at the Council of Europe and spokesperson for Secretary-General Thorbjørn Jagland, in reaction to the Turkish government plan to introduce the death penalty.

Responding to criticism from the EU, Erdoğan said during a rally in Antalya on March 25: “They say that if the death penalty is reinstated, Turkey will not have a place in Europe. We do not need that place.”

Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 as a part of reforms to facilitate Turkey’s accession to the European Union, although the death penalty has not been used since 1984.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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