August 28, 2016 / 4:25 PM / 3 years ago

Turkey's pursuit of militants will be unrelenting: president

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the United Solidarity and Brotherhood rally in Gaziantep, Turkey, August 28, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday Turkey’s pursuit of militant groups would be unrelenting, speaking in the city of Gaziantep where a suicide bomber believed to be backed by Islamic State attacked a wedding this month and killed 54.

“Our operations against terrorist organisations will continue until the end,” he told a rally of thousands of flag-waving supporters, citing militant groups such as Islamic State, Kurdish insurgents PKK and supporters of a U.S.-based cleric blamed for masterminding last month’s failed coup.

Erdogan said a cross-border offensive into Syria was giving people who fled Islamic State-controlled areas a chance to return home, including to the town of Jarablus. “People who it belongs to are coming back,” he said.

The president also repeated that he would approve reinstituting the death penalty if parliament backed it, an issue that has put it odds with the European Union, a bloc Turkey has long aspired to join.

Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Adrian Croft

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