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Pro-gov’t TV presenter claims people expect execution of main opposition leader

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An Islamist pro-government presenter on Akit TV on Tuesday said the people expect Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, chairman of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), to be executed.

Mehmet Özmen targeted the main opposition leader in a story he was presenting from Ulucanlar, a prison-turned-museum in Ankara, while talking about people who had been executed there in the past.

Özmen claimed Turkish society also expects the execution of the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan and Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who the government accuses of orchestrating a failed coup in July 2016.

The TV presenter said the people in addition expect the execution of individuals such as Kılıçdaroğlu for allegedly supporting the PKK and Gülen.

Turkey had abolished capital punishment as part of reforms for the now-stalled European Union accession process in 2002.

On the same day Özmen made his remarks on Akit TV, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told in a rally in the northern province of Zonguldak that it had been a mistake to abolish capital punishment. Erdoğan said that he resents “feeding” those who were allegedly involved in the failed coup in prisons instead of executing them.

“I have said it before and will say it again: If our parliament decides to reinstate capital punishment, I would approve the decision,” Erdoğan added.

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