Saturday

24th Feb 2018

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.

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

The European Commission called on Ankara to refrain from doing "damage to good neighbourly relations", after Turkish vessels stop a rig from reaching a gas drilling zone.

Turkey 'ready' to reform terror laws for EU visa deal

Faruk Kaymakci, Turkey's ambassador to the EU, says Ankara is ready to reform its anti-terror laws and meet all outstanding benchmarks so that Turks can travel freely to EU member states without visas.

Opinion

EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy

Not extending the EU fisheries deal with Morocco to fish off the disputed coast of Western Sahara could deprive the Sahrawi people of much-needed income - and throw into question future EU foreign policy in the name of human rights.

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

The European Commission called on Ankara to refrain from doing "damage to good neighbourly relations", after Turkish vessels stop a rig from reaching a gas drilling zone.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria
  2. UK's post-Brexit vision is 'pure illusion', Tusk says
  3. EU leaders express solidarity with Cyprus in Turkey drill row
  4. EU to double funding for Sahel forces
  5. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  6. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  7. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  8. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeAnkara Ban on LGBTI Events Continues as Turkish Courts Reject NGO Appeals
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU agrees budget to focus on defence, security and migration
  2. EU leaders nix transnational lists, cool on 'Spitzenkandidat'
  3. Regions chief: calls for smaller EU budget are 'impossible'
  4. Election fever picks up This WEEK
  5. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  6. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  7. European far-right political party risks collapse
  8. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  3. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  4. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections
  5. EPSUDrinking Water Directive Step Forward but Human Right to Water Not Recognized
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationGambling Operators File Data Protection Complaint Against Payment Block in Norway
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Expresses Deep Concern Over Proposed Holocaust Law in Poland
  8. CECEConstruction Industry Gets Together to Discuss the Digital Revolution @ the EU Industry Days
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Relations in the New Era
  10. European Free AlllianceEnd Discrimination of European Minorities - Sign the Minority Safepack Initiative
  11. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Diversity Shouldn’t Be Only a Slogan” Lorant Vincze (Fuen) Warns European Commission
  12. Dialogue PlatformWhat Can Christians Learn from a Global Islamic Movement?