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Erdogan threatens to ‘chop off traitors’ heads’ in coup bid anniversary speech

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivering a speech at a ceremony site on “July 15 Martyrs Bridge” (Bosphorus Bridge) in Istanbul on July 15, 2017. Turkey is marking one year since the defeat of the coup aimed at ousting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with mass rallies seeking to showcase national unity in a divided society and his grip on power. The authorities have declared July 15, an annual national holiday of “democracy and unity”, billing the foiling of the putsch as a historic victory of Turkish democracy. OZAN KOSE / AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday threatened to “chop off the heads” of traitors, in a speech marking the first anniversary of the failed coup bid that aimed to oust him from power.

“First of all we will chop off the heads of those traitors,” Erdogan told a rally in Istanbul, prompting cries from the crowds that capital punishment should be restored in Turkey.

Reaffirming previous comments, he vowed to sign any bill passed by parliament to restore capital punishment in Turkey, a move that would effectively end Ankara’s European Union membership ambitions.

“We are a state governed by rule of law. If it comes to me after parliament, I will sign it,” he said.

Erdogan also said the suspects being tried on suspicion of involvement in the failed coup should wear uniform clothing like the notorious orange jumpsuits used at US military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

“I spoke to the prime minister and… when they appear in court, let’s make them appear in uniform suits like in Guantanamo,” Erdogan said.

A controversy erupted last week when one suspect was seen going into court with the word “hero” in large letters in English on a T-shirt.

Erdogan was speaking to hundreds of thousands of supporters gathered at the bridge over the Bosphorus that saw some of the fiercest fighting on the night of the July 15, 2016 attempted coup.

“We paid a price … but there is no price for the independence and future we obtained in return for that sacrifice,” he said, referring to the deaths of 249 people at the hands of the plotters.

He meanwhile lashed out at claims from the opposition that the government had foreknowledge of the coup and let it play out to its own advantage in a so-called “controlled” putsch.

“This is a shame, this is an immorality,” Erdogan said. “This is a disrespect, an insult to our people,” he added.



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