Turkey’s parliament cannot stay indifferent to the “public demand” for the death penalty, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, reiterating that he would approve the bill on the re-installment of capital punishment if lawmakers vote in favor of it.
“I believe that to postpone this topic any further would not be right because the public demand for this is very high,” Erdoğan told reporters on Oct. 29 at a reception given to celebrate the 93rd anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic.
“The government has voiced the issue, from time to time. I believe [the government] will bring it to parliament, and parliament will pass it with the right decision,” he told reporters.
Erdoğan also claimed that a large majority of countries in the world have capital punishment. Amnesty International, however, states that 102 countries have banned the death penalty, while 58 retain it. A further 32 still have capital punishment on their books, but have effectively ceased to implement it.
The re-installment of capital punishment became an issue after the July 15 coup attempt, when pro-government supporters chanted in support of the measure.
Earlier in the day on Oct. 29, Erdoğan addressed crowds that demanded capital punishment in Ankara at an opening ceremony of a new train station. “Soon, soon, don’t worry,” Erdoğan said, in response to a group in the crowd chanting “We want the death penalty.” “It is soon, inshallah,” he said.
Capital punishment has not been implemented in Turkey since 1984, and it was formally abolished officially in 2004 as part of the country’s bid to join the European Union.
Asked whether re-instating capital punishment would create new problems in Turkey-EU relations, Erdoğan said, “Why do we relate ourselves to them that much?”
“Can the European Union bring 246 martyrs back to me? Or, can the European Union bring 2,194 veterans back to me?” he asked. “It’s what the people say that matters, not what the West thinks.”
PM: Compromise required
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, on the other hand, stressed that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has no means to re-install capital punishment on its own as it lacks at least 14 votes to change the constitution.
“Therefore, this can only happen through compromise with other political parties,” he said, while adding that he would seek this compromise.