Erdoğan says Turkey should reinstate death penalty after referendum

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ERZURUM, TURKEY - APRIL 12: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan greets the crowd during a meeting titled 'Erzurum Gathering' in Erzurum, Turkey on April 12, 2017. AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday that the government should take reinstatement of capital punishment to Parliament for passage after an upcoming referendum for a constitutional package on April 16.

Speaking during a rally in eastern Erzurum province on Wednesday, Erdoğan said, “After April 16, with God’s permission, a bill will be brought to Parliament. If it is passed by the legislature, I will approve it.”

Underlining that reinstatement of the death penalty could be brought to Parliament’s agenda with the consensus of all political parties, Erdoğan signaled that another referendum would be held for capital punishment if Parliament fails to pass it.

To reinstate the death penalty there needs to be a constitutional amendment, but in the event Parliament does not approve that, I am saying it now, we will appeal to the public with a referendum just like we did for April 16. Let the public decide,” he said.

The issue of reinstating capital punishment in Turkey has strained ties with the European Union after Erdoğan and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) suggested its reintroduction following a failed coup attempt last summer.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on March 19 that reinstatement of capital punishment in Turkey would “lead to the end of negotiations” with Ankara for its membership in the EU.

Responding to criticism from the EU, Erdoğan said: “They say that If the death penalty is reinstated, Turkey will not have a place in Europe. We do not need that place,” during a rally in Antalya on March 25.

Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 as a part of reforms to facilitate Turkey’s accession to the European Union, although the death penalty has not been used since 1984.

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