As Turkey contemplates the reintroduction of the death penalty to punish those responsible for the coup attempt, the mayor of Istanbul has allocated space for a “graveyard for traitors,” where people will have a chance to “curse” those responsible.
Following the failed July 15 coup attempt that left 246 people dead, including many members of the security forces and civilians, cemeteries across the country are refusing to bury those who plotted against the government.
In an attempt to remedy the situation, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Kadir Topbas said that he has ordered the allocation of space for the final resting place for “traitors” where “the passersby will curse the ones buried there.”
“I ordered a space to be saved and [for it to be called] … ‘the graveyard for traitors’,” Topbas told a group of pro-government protesters in Istanbul’s Taksim Square. “Everyone visiting the place will curse them and they won’t be able to rest in their graves.”
The decision to provide space, Topbas said, came after the mayor of Ordu, a port city on the Black Sea coast did not provide burial plots. As a result, the family of one of the dead took a body and buried it in their garden.
“I congratulate the mayor,” Topbas said as quoted by Anadolu Agency, adding that coup plotters “won’t be saved from hell.”
The mayor of Istanbul, a city of some 15 million people, also said that even the cemetery of the nameless was not a suitable place for the coup plotters to be buried with religious people.
“I believe that they won’t be saved from hell. But we need make the world unbearable for them,” he told protesters.
Topbas’ speech came as the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) issued a statement, saying it would not offer religious funerary services, including funeral prayers, for coup participants, except those who had been “forcibly dragged” into the rebellion.
The failed putsch left 246 people dead and another 1,500 others injured. In the wake of the coup, the government has started a witch-hunt against the organizers, as it blamed the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure (FETÖ/PDY), for masterminding the failed coup attempt. Turkey also requested that Washington extradite self-exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Turkey’s president and his government of orchestrating the coup.
On Wednesday, following a National Security Council meeting, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a three month state of emergency and confirmed that the “cleansing” operation in the country would continue until all attempted coup plotters and supporters have been punished.
Earlier, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that 7,543 people, including 100 police officers, 6,038 soldiers, 755 judges and prosecutors, and 650 civilians, have been detained so far.
Since the coup, Erdogan has been pushing for the introduction of the death penalty in the country that was suspended over a decade ago.
“The people on the streets have made that request,” Erdogan told CNN on Sunday. “The people have the opinion that these terrorists should be killed … why should I keep them and feed them in prisons for years to come, that’s what the people say.”
Such move has been criticized by the European Union, which Turkey is trying to join.
“Let me be very clear… no country can become an EU state if it introduces the death penalty,” EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said earlier.
While Erdogan maintains that any decision to reinstate capital punishment would need to be initiated by the parliament, he has confirmed he would approve the legislature if one was proposed.