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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday there will be no mercy for traitors.

Speaking at a rally in Istanbul to mark one year of a failed coup, Erdogan warned to “chop off the heads” of traitors.

The opposition says his call for “chopping off the heads” may return the capital punishment abolished in August 2002, in a bid to join the European Union.

Erdogan said that he would approve “without any hesitation” any legislation that would reinstate capital punishment in Turkey.

“I spoke to the prime minister and […] when they appear in court, let’s make them appear in uniform suits like in Guantanamo,” Erdogan added. “Nobody who betrays this nation can remain unpunished.”

On his part, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called the coup attempt a dark moment for Turkey, with deadly clashes between the people and rogue military forces. “It has been exactly one year since Turkey’s darkest and longest night was transformed into a bright day, since an enemy occupation turned into the people’s legend,” he said.

“Our people did not leave sovereignty to their enemies and took hold of democracy to the death,” he went on, as Erdogan and members of opposition parties looked on. “These monsters will surely receive the heaviest punishment they can within the law.”

Deep-lying tensions

Beyond the groundswell of nationalism, the coup’s greatest legacy has been the far-reaching purge on multiple sectors of Turkish society.

About 150,000 people have been sacked or suspended from jobs in the civil service and private sector. More than 50,000 have been detained for alleged links to the putsch.

A fresh wave of firings came on Friday, when the government announced it had dismissed another 7,000 police, civil servants and academics for suspected links to the US-based Muslim cleric Fatullah Gulen it blames for the putsch.

Western governments and human rights groups have repeatedly criticized the purge which has taken place following the coup as well as the conduct of the referendum voting.

President Erdogan and his supporters have spoken of “foreign hands” behind the coup plot. Western governments, they charge, had been slow in condemning the coup against a democratically elected government, waiting to see which side won.

Interestingly, hundreds of thousands gathered at a protest rally in Istanbul last Sunday, July 9. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), who had headed a 25-day, 425 km (265 mile) “justice march” from Ankara to Istanbul, to protest the detention of a CHP lawmaker. He declared it was a “rebirth for us, for our country and our children”.

Critics, including rights groups and some Western governments, say that Erdogan is using the state of emergency introduced after the coup to target opposition figures including rights activists, pro-Kurdish politicians and journalists.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) was represented by its deputy chairman as the party’s two co-leaders are in jail – as are local members of rights group Amnesty International and nearly 160 journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Over 11,000 cases filed against FETÖ members in Ankara

The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched more than 11,000 cases against suspected members of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) probe in Ankara since last year’s defeated coup in Turkey, the office announced on Saturday.

The 11,325 cases were against suspects accused of “attempting to stage a coup” and “being a leader or a member in armed terror group”. Among the total 57,567 suspects, 9,271 were arrested as part of investigations into FETÖ.

FETÖ is also behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary, according to the Anadolu news agency.

Turkey urges world to take FETÖ threat seriously

The Turkish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee has urged countries around the world to take the Fetullah Terrorist Organization’s (FETÖ) threat seriously as Turkey marks the first anniversary of the deadly July 15 defeated coup.

In a letter sent to foreign affairs committees of parliaments world over where Turkey has a representative office, the Turkish committee’s chairman Taha Özhan warned his foreign counterparts to not believe that FETÖ is a threat just for Turkey.

He said FETÖ members’ failure in Turkey does not entail their failure in other countries. The letter called for supporting the Turkish people and the state in its fight against FETÖ.

The letter described FETÖ as “the new age terrorist organization,” and reminded that FETO members coordinated operations in 173 countries, which poses a clear threat to the whole world.

“Following the July 15 coup attempt, more than 20 countries heeded the call of Turkey and showed their support to this just cause by closing down FETÖ schools within their jurisdictions and transferring the administration of the school to Turkey with the aim of barring the terrorist organization from the human and financial resources.”

Özhan said many countries remained unaware of the danger. “They are yet to thoroughly analyze the political psychology of the terrorist organization and uncover their insidiousness through investigative journalism,” he said.

OIC backs Turkey on 1st coup anniversary

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has underlined support for Turkey on the first anniversary of a failed coup attempt. In a statement on Saturday, the OIC reiterated its condemnation of the failed coup, launched last year by rogue elements within the military that martyred 250 people and injured nearly 2,200 others.

According to the Turkish government, the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup. FETÖ is behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

OIC Secretary General Yousef Al-Othaimeen recalled that the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers had adopted a resolution in October 2016 that showed the OIC’s full solidarity with Turkey in their fight against FETÖ.

Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America (www.journalofamerica.net) email: asghazali2011 (@) gmail.com

One Comment

  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    The Turkish president attempt to revive death penalty abolished more than s decade ago should be opposed by human rights groups. The tyrannical attitude of the president is dangerous for the common Turkish citizens . The imprisoned politicians and people must be given a fair trial and wrongly incarcerated persons should be released immediately

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