Istanbul mayor plans 'traitors' graveyard' for Turkey's coup suspects

Istanbul mayor plans 'traitors' graveyard' for Turkey's coup suspects
Burial spaces and religious rites have been denied to those who lost their lives in Turkey's failed coup after siding with coup plotters on Friday.
2 min read
21 July, 2016
A plot of land has been reserved to bury the dead allegedly involved in Turkey's failed coup attempt, and will be called the "Graveyard of the Traitors", Istanbul's mayor has said.

It comes after other graveyards refused to take the bodies of slain putschists, Istanbul's Mayor Kadir Topbas said.

Speaking to a crowd of pro-government supporters gathered in Istanbul's Taksim Square, Topbas said, "I ordered a space to be saved and to call it 'the graveyard for traitors'. The passersby will curse the ones buried there."

"Everyone visiting the place will curse them and they won't be able rest in their graves," he added. 

It comes after a night of violence on Friday after elements within the army attempted to overthrow the Turksih government left 246 people dead and around 1,500 injured.

Speaking on Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that 24 of the dead were coup plotters.

The Istanbul mayor said he developed the "graveyard for traitors" idea after the mayor of the Black Sea city of Ordu refused plots for the bodies of dead troops who allegedly sided with the coup plotters.

Consequently, the family of one of the dead resorted to interring their son's body in their garden.

The mayor of Turkey's most populous city continued to say that the "Cemetery of the Nameless" was not an appropriate place for the putschists to be buried, as that would place them alongside "religious people".

"I believe that they won't be saved from hell. But we need make the world unbearable for them," he told the anti-coup protesters.

Topbas' fiery words came shortly after Turkey's religious affairs directorate declared that it would not be performing religious rites for slain putschists, except those who were "forcibly dragged into" the fighting.

The religious authority added that the plotters did not deserve to be honoured with a religious ceremony, as they "not only put individuals' laws under their feet but the whole nation's with the actions they were involved in".

If Turkey decides to reinstate the death penalty for coup plotters - as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested on Sunday - the number of dead linked to the coup could still rise.

This suggestion has been heavily criticised by the European Union, which Turkey is trying to join.

In response, President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz accused Turkey of exacting "revenge" against its political opponents. He added that if the death penalty were to be carried out, that would end talks about future Turkish membership of the EU.