The Turkish President has told a rally of a million supporters he would approve the return of the death penalty.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the huge crowd that had gathered to hear him speak after a failed coup that if Parliament votes to bring back capital punishment, he would back it.
The move could scupper proposals for Turkey to join the EU which has collectively agreed to call for the universal abolition of the death penalty.
Council of Europe guidelines state that countries that join the EU are expected to commit themselves to moratoria and to ratify the 6th Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) committing them to permanent abolition.
The rally Mr Erdogan was speaking at was designed to draw a line under the 15 July coup attempt that has since resulted in widespread arrests and a purge of swathes of Turkey’s civil service.
In a speech to the Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally, which was broadcast live on public screens across the country, the President said: “If the nation makes such a decision (in support of death penalty), I believe political parties will abide by this decision.
“It is the Turkish parliament that will decide on this (death penalty) given the sovereignty rests with the nation… I declare it in advance, I will approve the decision made by the parliament.”
He went on to blame the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen for the coup attempt and said it must be destroyed within the framework of the law.
He went on to accuse Germany of being undemocratic by refusing to allow expat Turks living there to watch him speak over a video link.
He said: “Where is democracy? Let them nourish the terrorists, it will come back to hit them.”
German authorities prevented Erdogan from addressing a rally in Cologne last Sunday over a video link, prompting Ankara to summon Germany’s charge d’affaires.
The rally follows concern in some European countries that the President’s heavy-handed response to the coup has breached human rights and is itself stifling democracy.

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