Erdogan withdraws, forgives all cases of insults to him
Even while defending itself against attempted coup, Turkey has not compromised on the law, says the president
Calling the July 15 foiled coup attempt a milestone for Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday the country had not compromised its laws in the coup’s wake, and furthermore made the gesture of withdrawing various court cases filed over insults to the president.
"As a milestone, I hereby withdraw all the cases filed for insulting me and forgive all the offenders,” Erdogan told a Martyrs' Memorial Day ceremony at the presidential complex in Ankara to commemorate victims of the failed coup.
Erdogan also said, "Even during the coup attempt process, we have not made the slightest compromise with the law. Every step we have taken, every decision we have made, every implementation we have launched, it has been under the constitution [and the country’s] laws."
He added, "If we do not use this opportunity [to make the foiled coup a milestone], I believe the Turkish people will have the right to call us to account for it. I believe that all the sections of the country, particularly politicians, will behave accordingly on this sensitive issue."
He said post-coup attempt measures being carried out in the country's institutions such as parliament, the National Security Council, council of ministers and others ministries are in line with the law.
"If deficiencies [and] mistakes stemmed from this extraordinary period occur, then a legal path is available," Erdogan said.
During his speech, the president also shared the latest figures of the victims during the failed coup.
“On the night of July 15, a total of 237 people, including 170 civilians, 62 police officers, and five soldiers were martyred. As of today, 2,191 people have been injured.
“We have an obligation to establish justice. What does everybody say? Death penalty, death penalty, death penalty. However, this is a democratic, constitutional state governed by a parliamentary system,” Erdogan said.
The president said the ruling government needs to listen to people’s demands for the death penalty. Parliament will discuss the issue and everybody has to abide by that last decision, he added.
Erdogan also harshly criticized some countries for failing to offer any condolences regarding the failed coup and its victims.
“Those countries that do not worry about Turkey’s future are not our friends,” he said.
Erdogan stressed that Turkey had foiled the games played on it, and continued:
"I hope we will give an end to the games played on Syria. We will end the game in Iraq and Libya. We will put an end to all the games in the Middle East, North Africa, and all around the world played at the cost of the tears of innocent people and sufferings of the victims."
Turkey's government has repeatedly said the deadly coup attempt, which martyred more than 230 people and injured nearly 2,200 others, was organized by U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen's followers and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).
Gulen is also accused of running a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the parallel state.