Defiant Erdogan attacks EU, backs restoring death penalty

  • Monday 17, July 2017 in 8:45 AM
  • Tayyip Erdogan
Sharjah24 – Reuters: President Tayyip Erdogan, on Sunday, defiantly stepped up his attacks on the European Union, saying Turkey had to go its own way and vowing to bring back the death penalty if parliament passed it.

At the opening ceremony of a memorial dedicated to the roughly 250 people who died in last year's failed coup, Erdogan accused Brussels of "messing about" with Turkey's decades-long bid to join the bloc.

The speech in the early hours of Sunday wound up a marathon session of public appearances by Erdogan in both the capital and Istanbul overnight to mark the anniversary of last year's defeated coup.

"The stance of the European Union is clear to see ... 54 years have passed and they are still messing us about," he said, citing what he said was Brussels' failure to keep promises on everything from a visa deal to aid for Syrian migrants. 

"We will sort things out for ourselves. There's no other option." 

Ties with the West were strained when European governments voiced alarm at the scale of the crackdown that followed the coup. Some 150,000 people have been sacked or suspended from their jobs and more than 50,000 detained on suspicion of links with the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for the attempted putsch. 

Erdogan also said he would approve, "without hesitation" the death penalty, if parliament voted to restore it -- a move that would effectively end Turkey's bid to join the EU.

"I don't look at what Hans and George say. I look at what Ahmet, Mehmet, Hasan, Huseyin, Ayse, Fatma and Hatice say," he said, to cheers from a flag-waving crowd.