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9,000 public servants sacked as Turkey considers death penalty over failed coup

The EU says Turkey’s accession would be blocked if it introduced the death penalty.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

TURKEY HAS LAUNCHED fresh raids in a relentless crackdown against suspects behind a coup bid that left over 300 people dead, as its Western allies warned against any move to reinstate the death penalty.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to wipe out the “virus” of the putschists after facing down the coup bid by elements of the military disgruntled with what they see as his increasingly iron-fisted 13-year rule.

But the United States and European Union have sternly warned him against excessive retribution as the authorities round up the alleged perpetrators of Friday’s attempted power grab.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman denounced “revolting scenes of caprice and revenge against soldiers on the streets” after disturbing pictures emerged of the treatment of some detained suspects.

Turkey Military Coup Mourners pray in front the coffins of policemen killed during the failed military coup last Friday during a mass in Ankara. Source: Hussein Malla

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said over 7,500 people have been detained so far, including 103 generals and admirals, in the investigation into Friday’s coup which Erdogan has blamed on his arch-enemy, the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.

The interior ministry said almost 9,000 police, municipal governors and other officials had also been dismissed in a widening purge.

The authorities have also detained General Mehmet Disli, who conducted the operation to capture chief-of-staff Hulusi Akar during the stand-off, an official said.

The 103 generals detained are accused of seeking to violate the constitution and attempting to overthrow the authorities by force, as well what the authorities call the Fethullahci Terror Organisation (FETO) led by Gulen.


Turkey Military Coup Recep Erdogan Source: Emrah Gurel

Erdogan has urged citizens to remain on the streets even after the defeat of the coup, in what the authorities describe as a “vigil” for democracy.

Thousands of pro-Erdogan supporters waving Turkish flags filled the main Kizilay Square in Ankara while similar scenes were seen in Taksim Square in Istanbul.

According to Anadolu, 1,800 additional elite special police forces have been drafted in from surrounding provinces to ensure security in Istanbul.

Eleven soldiers suspected of involvement in the coup were detained at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport, with authorities firing warning shots in the air, a Turkish official said.

‘Pay the price’

Turkey Military Coup Source: AP/Press Association Images

Western leaders have urged Turkey to follow the rule of law in the wake of the coup bid, with the massive retaliatory purge adding to concerns about human rights and democracy in the NATO member state.

“We also urge the government of Turkey to uphold the highest standards of respect for the nation’s democratic institutions and the rule of law,” US Secretary of State John Kerry told a news conference after talks with EU foreign ministers.

Responding to the criticism, Yildirim said the plotters would be brought to account but Turkey would “act within the law”.

But Erdogan added fuel to the fire yesterday when he told supporters that Turkey could consider reintroducing the death penalty which it had abolished in 2004 as part of its longstanding EU membership bid.

“We cannot delay this anymore because in this country, those who launch a coup will have to pay the price for it,” he said.

EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini responded bluntly.

“Let me be very clear… no country can become an EU state if it introduces the death penalty,” she said.

Read: Why is there a coup happening in Turkey?

Read: Turkey: Erdogan cries on national television as 6,000 are rounded up and arrested

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