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Recep Tayyip Erdogan: I’ll rip heads off traitors who bring terror

Martyrs: Thousands attend the opening of a memorial in Ankara PICTURE: GETTY

TURKEY’S president has vowed to ‘rip the heads off’ anti-regime plotters and terror groups on the anniversary of last year’s crushed military coup.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan backed the death penalty as he addressed flag-waving crowds remembering the 250 people who died on July 15, 2016.

Accompanied by families of coup victims, he dedicated a globe-shaped monument to the dead near the foot of the July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge in Istanbul.

‘Exactly a year ago today, around this hour, a treacherous attempt took place,’ Mr Erdogan told tens of thousands of people who converged at the bridge following a ‘national unity’ march.

‘The coup attempt is not the first attack against our country, and it won’t be the last,’ he said, referring to a series of terror attacks that also hit Turkey.

Death penalty: Recep Tayyip Erdogan warns ‘traitors’ in speech at Turkish coup anniversary rally PICTURES: GETTY

‘For that reason, we’ll first rip the heads off these traitors.’

The bridge was the scene of clashes between civilians and soldiers in tanks who were attempting to overthrow the government. At least 30 people died there and more than 2,000 were injured across Turkey while 35 coup plotters were also killed.

Later, Mr Erdogan flew to Ankara for a special session in parliament at the moment it was bombed a year ago. He also opened a Martyrs’ Monument near the grounds of his palace in the capital.

Mr Erdogan said the 250 ‘martyrs’ — whose photos were displayed on monitors — had fought with their ‘bare hands’ and ‘their faith’ against armed plotters.

He told the crowd that he wants hundreds of people who are on trial over the failed coup to appear in court wearing a standard uniform ‘like in Guantanamo’, and reiterated that he would approve a bill reinstating the death penalty if parliament proposed it.

Another 7,395 state employees were fired on Friday, including teachers and police officers, bringing the number of dismissed to more than 110,000.