Erdogan vows to reintroduce death penalty ‘if Turks want’

Supporters of Erdoğan at a pro-government demonstration in Sarachane park in Istanbul, 19 July. [Reuters]

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday (7 August) hinted at the return of death penalty which he said was a matter of “people’s will”.

Speaking to more than 1 million supporters in Istanbul, Erdogan stressed that if the nation made such a decision (in support of death penalty), then “political parties will abide by this decision”.

“It is the Turkish parliament that will decide on this (death penalty) given the sovereignty rests with the nation… I declare it in advance, I will approve the decision made by the parliament,” Erdogan noted.

Referring to critics who claimed there was no death penalty in the EU, he stressed that it was used in the United States, Japan, and China.

“Today there is the death penalty in the majority of the world,” he said, adding that capital punishment had been legal in Turkey until 2004, though the last execution took place in 1984.

Erdogan also noted that that the state would be cleansed of all members of the Gulen movement, which considers responsible for the 15 July coup attempt, “within law”.


Meanwhile, Germany’s Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel told public ARD television on Sunday (8 August) that any Turkish EU accession remained “10, 20 years” distant.

“The illusion … here comes someone to soon become a full member of the EU … that’s complete nonsense … that will not eventuate,” Gabriel said, adding that if Erdogan introduces the death penalty then it would make no sense to negotiate accession further because this would violate a “central element” of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights.

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