Sunday

26th Mar 2017

Turkish PM moots reinstating death penalty

  • Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has mooted bringing back capital punishment (Photo: luis echanove)

EU candidate country Turkey may reinstate capital punishment for people convicted of terrorism.

A total ban on the practice is a pre-condition to join EU ranks, but Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday (11 November) said he would consider lifting it anyway, reports AFP.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Erdogan had already floated the idea during a panel discussion on democracy in Bali on Friday.

"Capital punishment was lifted in Europe but was it lifted in the United States, Japan and China? So death penalty can be legitimate in some cases," he said.

Turkey's spokesperson to the EU told EUobserver that: "it was just a statement by the Prime Minister. There is nothing concrete to reinstate this."

Erdogan cited polls that indicate a large number of Turks are in favor of state-sanctioned killing.

He noted strong popular support to execute imprisoned Kurdish rebel leader of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Abdullah Ocalan. Both the United States and Europe view the PKK as a terrorist group.

"Today, a lot of people are in favour of reinstating capital punishment, according to polls, because parents of the dead suffer while others party and eat kebabs," said Erdogan.

Ocalan had initially been sentenced to death in 1999 but had his sentence reduced to life after the EU pressured Turkey to abolish capital punishment in 2002.

The European Commission at the time called Turkey's ban on the practice a "significant step on its way to becoming a fully-fledged democracy."

Meanwhile, around 700 pro-PKK inmates entered their 60th day of hunger strike over the weekend in protest at Ocalan's solitary confinement on an island near Istanbul.

The Kurdish leader has been denied access to his lawyers for the past 15 months and his health is reportedly deteriorating.

The protest escalated on Saturday when six of Turkey's leading Kurdish politicians also decided to stop eating.

"We cannot bear the conscientious and ethical responsibility of waiting while people are under life-threatening situations," Gultan Kısanak, co-chair of the Peace and Democracy Party said Friday, reports UPI.

The EU, for its part, has taken a hard stand against the death penalty and is working towards its universal abolition.

"The death penalty can neither reverse the crime it seeks to punish nor mitigate a victim’s loss. It should be a relic of the past," said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in October.

Opinion

The EU and Turkey: Stronger together

As the EU faces economic challenges and continuing instability in the Middle East, our relationship with Turkey matters more than ever.

Serb minister love-bombs EU

The EU and Serbia have moved a step closer despite regional tensions, with a Serb minister calling the EU "the best place in the world".

Interview

'Don't push Turkey away', says writer Elif Shafak

Novelist and essayist Elif Shafak said that isolating Turkey would "play into the hands of populism" and that liberals everywhere should defend their values with "emotional intelligence".

Russia courts Serbia amid EU dispute

Serbian PM Vucic cut short a trip to Brussels, the same day as Russian foreign minister said the EU was pushing Balkan countries to "antagonise" Russia.

Interview

'Don't push Turkey away', says writer Elif Shafak

Novelist and essayist Elif Shafak said that isolating Turkey would "play into the hands of populism" and that liberals everywhere should defend their values with "emotional intelligence".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  2. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  3. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  4. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  5. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  6. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  7. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  9. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  10. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  11. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  12. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change