The “Democracy and Martyrs' Rally” rally was gathered at Istanbul’s Yenikapi area to demonstrate “Turkish unity” following aborted overthrow of the government that rattled the country on July 15.
The president claimed that he supports the demands from people to reintroduce the capital punishment for participants of the mutiny. He noted that he would sign such a law into power if the parliament adopted it.
“Everyone knows that power in this country, with no doubts, belongs to people, and they are demanding the death penalty,” Erdogan said, according to Turkish news agency Anadolu. "Parliament is the authority that will decide on the death penalty. The next step will be clear after the parliament takes a decision. I will approve reinstating the death penalty if the parliament approves."
According to some estimates, over a million of people took to the streets in Istanbul. The rally was also demonstrated on huge outdoor screens set up across all the country’s 81 provinces, according to local media.
The meeting was attended by major opposition parties, an event not seen by the country for decades. Republican People's Party Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu said that the failed coup opened the door for “reconciliation” of political forces in the country and said it will lead to emergence of a new “great Turkey."
The last time death warrant was enforced in Turkey in 1984. Two decades later, Ankara abolished capital punishment in a bid to comply with EU standards for further incorporation of the country into the bloc. Earlier, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker threatened that the EU will suspend the process of accession of Turkey to the union, if the death penalty is restored.