Wednesday

26th Apr 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.

EU urges Turkey to investigate election fraud

The EU called for a transparent investigation into alleged irregularities during the referendum in Turkey, which gave sweeping powers to president Erdogan. It added that reinstating the death penalty would end the country's EU bid.

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".

EU urges Turkey to investigate election fraud

The EU called for a transparent investigation into alleged irregularities during the referendum in Turkey, which gave sweeping powers to president Erdogan. It added that reinstating the death penalty would end the country's EU bid.

News in Brief

  1. EU Commission launches probe into Hungary's university law
  2. Scots slowly losing appetite for independence - poll
  3. Council of Europe puts Turkey on watch list
  4. EU to put parental leave on political agenda
  5. Israel cancels German meeting over human rights groups
  6. Hungary's Orban will participate in EU parliament debate
  7. Malta floats cash-for-refugees plan
  8. Ivanka Trump to meet Merkel at Berlin women's conference

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  3. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  4. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  5. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  6. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  7. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  8. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  10. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  11. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  12. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children

Latest News

  1. European states still top media freedom list
  2. Let’s not put European public health at risk
  3. Threatened Budapest university calls for EU support
  4. Orban set to face down EU threats
  5. Dont expect 'quick fix' in Syria, China tells EU
  6. Russische schwarze Kassen bedrohen EU Demokratie
  7. Libya commanders in Brussels for migration talks
  8. Mixed review for EU asylum spots in Greece and Italy