PM Yıldırım says consensus should be sought for reinstatement of death penalty

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ANKARA, TURKEY - JULY 14: Prime Minister of Turkey Binali Yildirim meets media representatives at Cankaya Palace in Ankara, Turkey on July 14, 2017. AFP

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said a consensus needs to be reached among political parties for the reinstatement of capital punishment in Turkey, the t24 news website reported on Monday.

Reminding that capital punishment was abolished in Turkey in 2004 based on a consensus among the political parties in the Turkish Parliament, Yıldırım said: “The support of the Nationalist Movement Party [MHP] is not enough alone [for reinstatement of the death penalty]; what the Republican People’s Party [CHP] is thinking [on this issue] also matters,” said Yıldırım.

Yıldırım voiced his personal opposition to reinstatement of the death penalty and said: “I understand the indignation and feelings about this issue, but this matter concerns the entire future of Turkey.”

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan responded positively to demands for reinstatement of capital punishment after a botched coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and said that he would approve it without hesitation once Parliament passes it.

After claiming victory in a referendum that greatly expanded his powers, Erdoğan on April 16 strongly hinted that the time had come for Turkey to consider reinstating the death penalty.

His remarks attracted widespread criticism from the European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, with many EU officials telling Turkey that such a move would spell the end of Turkey’s membership talks.

During a speech on the occasion of the first anniversary of the coup attempt on Saturday, Erdoğan targeted people linked to the Gülen movement, which he accuses of being behind the failed coup, and said: “First we will cut off traitors’ heads.”

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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