Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas isn’t exactly mincing words about last weekend’s failed coup attempt, announcing this week that he “ordered a space to be saved and to call it ‘the graveyard for traitors.'”
He is not speaking metaphorically, either. Hurriyet Daily News quotes Topbas saying, “passerby will curse the ones buried there,” and “they won’t be able to rest in their graves.”
He also told a group of anti-coup demonstrators that the mayor of Ordu province, on the Black Sea, refused to provide burial space for slain coup supporters — a measure Topbas approved of because he did not want their bodies to mingled with “religious people.”
“I believe that they won’t be saved from hell. But we need make the world unbearable for them,” he declared.
Hurriyet notes that Turkey’s powerful Religious Affairs Directorate, aka the Diyanet, has stated soldiers involved in the coup should not be given religious services or funeral prayers, unless it can be demonstrated they were “dragged into the incidents forcibly and by threat” or “found themselves in the clashes without knowing what was going on.”
Topbas also supported the Erdogan government’s claim that followers of America-based cleric Fethullah Gulen — which pro-Erdogan officials have taken to identifying by the rather unwieldy name “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure (FETO/PDY)” — were behind the attempt to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“We are seeing a terrorist organization that points guns against their own people. They transformed into soldier looking demons and intended to kill people,” the mayor declared.
It is not yet clear how big Mayor Topbas’s Graveyard of Traitors would need to be. The Turkish government is facing international pressure not to execute accused coup participants, as Erdogan has been talking about. Thousands of people have been arrested.
There have been reports of a coup soldier beheaded by a pro-government mob on the Bosphorus Bridge, shortly after the plot was foiled. The Bosphorus was the site of a major pro-Erdogan demonstration while the coup was in progress, widely taken as a sign that the public, and civic organizations, offered little support for the effort to overthrow the president. The Turkish government has reportedly banned all videos and photos of the beheading.