Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini for comments she made in the immediate aftermath of a recent coup attempt last month.
"Mrs. Mogherini should have first come to Turkey. Now I ask: 'What would be the reactions if the Italian parliament was bombed?,'" Erdogan told Italian TV channel Rainews24 late Tuesday.
"When an incident happens in Belgium or in Paris, when five or 10 people get killed, all of them
are crowding together, aren't they? They wonder what has happened,” he said. “A coup was staged
against the democracy in Turkey and now we have 238 martyrs. Unfortunately no one from Europe, EU or the [European] Council came to Turkey", Erdogan said as he called on Mogherini to express empathy for the Turkish state and its people in the wake of the crisis.
"What would Mogherini say as an Italian? Would she say, 'They did well. How will the judicial process go on? I am concerned about it'", Erdogan said.
His comments follow Mogherini’s remarks, who just days after the unsuccessful overthrow of the Turkish government, demanded Ankara adhere to the country’s Constitution as it investigates those behind the attempted putsch. “We need to have Turkey respect democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms,” she said at a meeting of 28 EU foreign ministers, alongside U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), accused of using agents inside the Turkish military and government, has been accused of carrying out the coup attempt.
"All viruses inside the Turkish Armed Forces, police and judiciary and all state establishments should be removed," Erdogan said as he slammed the attitude of western governments toward Turkey following the overthrow attempt.
"Does the West take the side of democracy or coup? I think that they take the side of coup", he said.
Regarding concerns about a possible reinstatement of the death penalty for those involved in the failed takeover, Erdogan reiterated his stance that the decision would be left up to Turkish lawmakers but he cited a strong desire by the Turkish public for capital punishment.
"We don't have death sentence in Turkey. The U.S., Japan, China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iran, Pakistan, Taiwan, Belarus, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Bahamas sill have the death sentence. Only the EU member countries don't have it. Do our people have a demand for it? Yes," he said.
"Now almost 75 percent of public opinion polls show it", Erdogan added, while emphasizing that parliament's decision is above all.
The government in Ankara has said the deadly coup attempt, which martyred at least 238 people and injured nearly 2,200 others, was organized by the followers of U.S.-based preacher, Fetullah Gulen.
Gulen is also accused of implementing 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.