Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened on Saturday to “chop off the heads” of those involved in last year’s failed coup attempt.
“First of all we will chop off the heads of those traitors,” Erdogan said at a rally held in Istanbul to mark the one-year anniversary of the failed putsch, which left 249 people dead.
Since the coup attempt, which was carried out by a small group of military officers, Erdogan’s government has arrested alleged coup participants in the Turkish military as well as tens of thousands of people accused of being followers of Fethullah Gulen.
Erdogan claims that Gulen, a Muslim cleric living in exile in the U.S., masterminded the coup. The Turkish government refers to Gulen’s network of followers as FETO, the Fethullah Terrorist Organization.
Gulen has denied attempting to overthrow Erdogan, his former ally.
Erdogan did not elaborate on what constitutes a “traitor” worthy of beheading. But his regime has steadily expanded who it considers a terrorist and traitor.
During a state visit to Washington, D.C. in May, members of Erdogan’s security detail attacked a group of peaceful protesters outside of the Turkish ambassador’s residence. Turkish government officials claimed that the assault was justified because — they claimed without evidence — the protesters were terrorists associated with the Kurdish separatist group, PKK.
Turkey does not currently have the death penalty, but the Turkish parliament is considering restoring capital punishment.
“If it comes to me after parliament, I will sign it,” Erdogan said of a capital punishment bill.
The move will effectively end Turkey’s hopes of entering the European Union, which prohibits the death penalty for member nations.
In his fiery speech, which was cheered on by tens of thousands of supporters, Erdogan also suggested that suspected coup plotters should be made to wear orange jumpsuits to court similar to the ones worn by prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
“When they appear in court, let’s make them appear in uniform suits like in Guantanamo,” Erdogan said, flashing what appeared to be the Rabia sign, a hand gesture affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Like ISIS, Erdogan threatens to ‘chop of heads’ and parade their prisoners.
Is this the type of ‘ally’ any nations wants or needs. pic.twitter.com/ObwXSpTcnh
— Ari Murad (@AriMurad_) July 15, 2017