Friday

15th Dec 2017

Erdogan renews death penalty call

Turkey's president has renewed calls to reintroduce the death penalty amid a growing spat with Austria over EU membership.

Some 1 million people on Sunday (7 August) in Istanbul rallied in support of Turkey's government following last month's failed military coup.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president, told the so-called “democracy and martyrs” rally he would back capital punishment should the public and parliament approve it.

"It is the Turkish parliament that will decide on the death penalty... I declare it in advance, I will approve the decision made by the parliament," he said.

But this brings into doubt what a senior Turkish MP from the ruling government party told EUobserver last week, that the death penalty was not on the table.

"It is not on our agenda at the moment, it is not on the agenda of the parliament," said Sena Nur Celik, an MP from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) during a visit to Brussels.

Celik said "emotions are very high" over the issue given the almost 240 people killed and over 2,000 injured during the July 15 coup attempt.

Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 as part of a bid to join the European Union.

Any reintroduction would put an end to talks and further cloud a migrant swap deal signed with Ankara in March. Part of that deal included accelerating membership talks by opening Chapter 33 on budgetary issues.

Turkey's accession talks kicked off in 2005; but, only 1 of 35 chapters has so far been concluded.

The deal also promised to lift short stay visa restrictions on Turks should Ankara meet outstanding requirements imposed by the EU.

Death threats for Austria

But any prospect of Turkey's bid to become an EU member, regardless of Erdogan's death penalty, appears increasingly dim.

Austria's foreign minister Sebastian Kurz on Friday threatened to scupper expansion talks with Turkey.

"I have a seat and a vote in the [EU] foreign ministers' council. There the question is whether new negotiation chapters will be opened with Turkey, and I am against it," he said in an interview with Austrian daily Kurier.

Kurz also said the criteria for visa liberalisation "will not be fulfilled by Turkey."

Kurz's comments follows similar calls by Austria's chancellor Christian Kern.

The chancellor said he would start discussions among other EU states to put an end to accession talks, given the democratic rollback in Turkey.

Kern has since received death threats, reports AFP.

"Threats, even death threats, from the right wing and the radical part of the Turkish community have become reality for me,” he is quoted as saying in Osterreich daily.

Turkish foreign minster Mevlut Cavusoglu also shot back on Kern.

On Friday, he called Austria the "capital of radical racism", saying Kern should keep to his own affairs.

The purge in Turkey against people affiliated with the outlawed Fethullah Gulen group continues.

Turkey's government says Gulen, a Muslim cleric who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1991, is the mastermind behind the coup, a charge he denies.

Some 70,000 people have so far been sacked, arrested or detained since mid-July.

Erdogan, for his part, has promised to drop lawsuits against some 2,000 people who had insulted him.

The move is seen by critics as part of a government-led effort to create a new narrative for Turkey with Erdogan at its centre.

Russian news agency TASS reports that Erdogan will visit St Petersburg, on Tuesday, to smooth over ties with the Russian government.

Erdogan said his planned visit will "mark new page in bilateral relations" between the two nations after Turkey downed a Russian jet fighter last November.

Death penalty not on Turkey's agenda, says MP

A Turkish MP plays down the possibility of capital punishment being reintroduced, despite hints by president Erdogan that he would push for it following last month's failed coup.

Two EU states break ranks on Jerusalem

Hungary and the Czech Republic have broken EU ranks on US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital despite warnings it could bring back 'darker times'.

Feature

Lebanon crisis overshadows EU aid for Syrian refugees

Lebanon hosts over one million Syrian refugees, and has received some €1bn in EU funds. Caught in a geo-political tug of war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Lebanon's domestic politics have cast a longer shadow over its Syrian 'guests'.

EU complicit in Libyan torture, says Amnesty

The EU and its members states have signed up to 'Faustian pact' with Libyan authorities in the their effort to prevent migrant and refugee boat departures towards Italy, says Amnesty International.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Estonia completes two out of three priority digital bills
  2. EU countries are not 'tax havens', parliament says
  3. Tech firms' delays mean EU needs rules for online terror
  4. Slovak PM: Human rights are not a travel pass to EU
  5. British PM limps to EU capital after Brexit defeat
  6. US pleads for clarity on Brexit aviation 'black hole'
  7. Tusk migration note prompts institutional 'hysteria'
  8. Migration looms over summit, as Africa pledges fall short

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  2. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  3. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage
  4. Centre Maurits CoppietersCelebrating Diversity, Citizenship and the European Project With Fundació Josep Irla
  5. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceUnderstanding the Social Consequences of Obesity
  6. Union for the MediterraneanMediterranean Countries Commit to Strengthening Women's Role in Region
  7. Bio-Based IndustriesRegistration for BBI JU Stakeholder Forum about to close. Last chance to register!
  8. European Heart NetworkThe Time Is Ripe for Simplified Front-Of-Pack Nutrition Labelling
  9. Counter BalanceNew EU External Investment Plan Risks Sidelining Development Objectives
  10. EU2017EEEAS Calls for Eastern Partnership Countries to Enter EU Market Through Estonia
  11. Dialogue PlatformThe Turkey I No Longer Know
  12. World Vision7 Million Children at Risk in the DRC: Donor Meeting to Focus on Saving More Lives