ANKARA (Dispatches) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that he will chop off the heads of traitors while the country marks the first anniversary of a failed coup.
Addressing a thousand-strong march, Erdogan warned that his government was seriously mulling reintroducing the death penalty.
"First of all we will chop off the heads of those traitors,” he said.
"Did my people have guns in their hands? They had their flags -- just as they do today -- and a weapon way more effective. They had their faith," he added.
Any move towards reintroducing capital punishment in Turkey would end negotiations for the country’s EU accession.
Turkey has been attempting to become part of the EU for decades. Formal EU accession negotiations, however, began in 2005. The process has been mired in problems, and only 16 chapters of the 35-chapter accession procedure have been opened for Ankara so far.
In November last year, the European Parliament suspended the accession talks with Ankara over concerns regarding human rights and the rule of law following the July 15 coup attempt.
In January, Turkey called on the EU to resume the negotiations.
Turkey witnessed a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, when a faction of the Turkish military declared that the government of Erdogan was no more in charge of the country.
A few hours later, however, the coup was suppressed. Almost 250 people were killed and nearly 2,200 others wounded in the abortive coup.
"We paid a price… but there is no price for the independence and future we obtained in return for that sacrifice,” he said.
Erdogan also said that those being tried over the coup would wear uniforms similar to the notorious orange jumpsuits used at U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.
"When they appear in court, let’s make them appear in uniform suits like in Guantanamo,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Erdogan has unveiled a memorial statue honoring those killed during the country’s failed coup on the first anniversary of the event.
Sunday coincided with the coup’s first anniversary, when the public poured onto the streets in solidarity with the administration, and chanted, "We are soldiers of Tayyip."
The statue comprised a giant plinth topped by figures holding the star and crescent, which is featured on the Turkish flag. The pedestal is etched with the names of the victims.