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Turkish President Erdogan says country's parliament will consider reintroducing death penalty

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkish President Erdogan has said his country's parliament will consider whether to reintroduce the death penalty. Such a move would likely put Turkey on a collision course with the European Union.

In a speech in Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday [October 29, 2016] that he would ask parliament to consider reintroducing the death penalty.

"Our government will take this [proposal on capital punishment] to parliament," Erdogan said. "I am convinced that parliament will approve it, and when it comes back to me, I will ratify it."

If reinstated, the punishment could be used for those found guilty of organizing a July coup that sought to remove Erdogan from power. Some 35,000 people have been arrested in connection with the failed coup.

Turkey did away with capital punishment in 2004 during negotiations to join the European Union, which has outlawed capital punishment and requires members to do so as well. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders have said reinstating the death penalty would be "in no way compatible" with membership in the EU.

The Turkish leader, however, brushed off any criticism that could come from Brussels.

"The West says this, the West says that. Excuse me, but what counts is not what the West says," he said. "What counts is what my people say."

Erdogan made the comments on Saturday as he attended the opening of a station for high-speed trains in the country's capital Ankara, reported Turkey's privately owned Dogan news agency.

The crowds gathered there reportedly chanted "we want the death penalty" to which Erdogan replied: "Soon, soon, don't worry. It's happening soon, God willing."

"Soon, our government will bring (the bill) to Parliament... It's what the people say that matters, not what the West thinks," he added.

Saturday's speech, however, was not the first time Erdogan had called for capital punishment to be legalized.

However, while Erdogan's Justice and Development Party dominates the parliament, it does not have enough seats to amend the constitution. The Turkish President could get around this by putting the issue to a plebiscite. However, one legal snag would remain: whether to apply capital punishment retroactively, meaning on crimes committed before the law changes.

Source: Deutsche Welle, October 29, 2016


Erdogan announces Turkish parliament will consider bringing back the death penalty


'I am convinced that parliament will approve it, and when it comes back to me, I will ratify it,' says President Erdogan in a speech in Ankara

Turkey's president has said he will ask parliament to consider reintroducing the death penalty.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was "convinced" his proposal to punish those behind July's failed military coup would be approved.

“Our government will take this [proposal on capital punishment] to parliament," he said in a speech in Ankara.

"I am convinced that parliament will approve it, and when it comes back to me, I will ratify it."

Crowds at the ceremony to inaugurate a high-speed train station in the Turkish capital chanted: “We want the death penalty!”

“Soon, soon, don't worry. It's happening soon, God willing,” said the President.

President Erdogan has previously said he would approve the return of the death penalty in Turkey if that was what the people and parliament wanted.

He told the crowd of millions his intentions at a vast rally in Istanbul following the attempted coup on 15 July.

The death penalty was abolished in Turkey in 2004 as the nation sought accession to the European Union. However, in practice it had not been enacted since 1984.

Relations between Brussels and Ankara have been strained since Turkey responded to the coup by launching a relentless crackdown against alleged plotters in state institutions, amid calls from the EU to act within the rule of law.

“The West says this, the West says that. Excuse me, but what counts is not what the West says. What counts is what my people say,” he said in his speech on Saturday.

The July coup represented a serious challenge to Mr Erdogan's presidency, however he resisted the attempt and remains in power.

He blamed US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen for the coup and his supporters who are known as the “Gulen movement”. It is critical of Mr Erdogan who they see as supporting a 'political Islam' rather than a 'cultural Islam' in his presidency.

More than 35,000 people have been arrested in the crackdown unleashed after the failed coup, according to official data.

Source: The Independent, October 29, 2016

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