Erdoğan signals reinstatement of death penalty after referendum

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has revealed plans to reinstate the death penalty in Turkey following a public referendum that will be held on April 16 on a constitutional reform package introducing an executive presidency in Turkey.

Speaking at an inauguration ceremony in the central province of Aksaray on Friday, when Erdoğan heard slogans in support of the death penalty from his supporters, he said: “You know my attitude on this issue. God willing, April 16 will be its first signal. The fate of those who kill my soldiers, police officers, village guards and citizens should be exactly the same, execution. Do you say ‘yes’ to this? The main opposition party is afraid of this.”

The president said he does not care about foreign criticism concerning plans to re-introduce capital punishment, with the European Union constantly warning Turkey, a candidate for EU membership, that such a development would mean the end of accession talks.

“We just don’t care what George or Hans says. We care about what Fatma, Ahmet or the Mehmet under the soil [refers to fallen soldiers] says. If we can’t take revenge for the blood spilt by Mehmets, we can’t give an accounting of our actions,” he said.

Erdoğan and the government have been pushing for reinstatement of the death penalty since a failed coup attempt on July 15.

Turkey has been officially negotiating as a candidate country with the EU since 2005 and abolished capital punishment in 2004 as part of EU reforms.

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