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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he is ready to reinstate the death penalty “if the people demand it”, following the recent coup attempt, the BBC reports.
He was addressing supporters outside his Istanbul residence who were chanting for capital punishment to be restored.
EU officials have warned that Turkey’s bid to join the bloc would be finished if Ankara restored the death penalty.
Mr Erdogan has overseen a crackdown since the coup attempt was quashed.
Thousands of police officers, military personnel and judges have been suspended or arrested. Turkey’s Western allies have expressed concern and urged President Erdogan to respond in a measured way.
But speaking to his supporters on Tuesday morning, the president said Turkey was “a democratic state run by the rule of law”.
He said he was ready to reinstate the death penalty if the Turkish people demanded it and parliament approved the legislation, adding: “You cannot put aside the people’s demands.”
“Today is there no capital punishment in America? In Russia? In China? In countries around the world? Only in European Union countries is there no capital punishment,” he said.
Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 as part of its bid to become a member of the EU.