News / Europe

    Turkey to Consider Return of Capital Punishment

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a meeting of Muslim religious leaders from Europe and Asia, in Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 19. 2012.Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a meeting of Muslim religious leaders from Europe and Asia, in Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 19. 2012.
    x
    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a meeting of Muslim religious leaders from Europe and Asia, in Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 19. 2012.
    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a meeting of Muslim religious leaders from Europe and Asia, in Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 19. 2012.
    The Turkish Prime Minister has put the return of capital punishment up for consideration, claiming there is widespread support in the country for it especially in cases of terrorism. Turkey is experiencing a resurgence in fighting by the Kurdish rebel group the PKK, whose leader is incarcerated in a Turkish prison.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a series of speeches over the last few weeks, has pushed the idea of bringing back the death penalty.

    He said in the face of deaths and murders, the death penalty should,if necessary, be brought back to the table for discussion. Erdogan made the comments at a rally of party supporters earlier this month.
     
    Turkey formally abolished the death penalty in 2004, although the last execution took place in 1984 during military rule. The prime minister’s statement comes amid a resurgence in fighting between the Turkish state and the PKK.  

    Cengiz Aktar is a political columnist for the Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman.

    "He probably intends (to address) the families who are losing their children in the combat on the Turkish army side. Of course he is (in) total contradiction (of) what he said in 2001, when he was in opposition and the party was fresh and there he was clearly for the abolition of the death penalty. After ten years he has regressed completely," Aktar said.

    A main factor behind the change in the stance of the prime minister is the 2014 presidential election, according to political scientist Yuksel Taskin of Istanbul’s Marmara University.
     
    "The most important thing is to capture (the) presidential post and turn the system into a presidential system or semi-presidential system; he needs nationalist votes according to his calculations," Taskin said.

    Erdogan needs the support of the Nationalist Action Party to achieve a two-thirds parliamentary majority to change the country’s constitution to introduce a presidential system.   And the nationalist party has been in the forefront of demanding the return of the death penalty and, in particular, the execution of the imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan.  

    Ocalan was sentenced to death but it was commuted to life in prison after capital punishment was abolished. On the streets of Istanbul there are mixed feelings about the prime minister’s call for the return of the death penalty.

    "I support the prime minister, I think he is right," one woman said. "It would be better if we had it." (death penalty).
     
    But another man thinks Turkey should look to Europe as a way forward.

    "Its not something useful, in the Western countries what they do, we can do the same thing in Turkey as well," he said.
     
    Turkey abolished the death penalty as part of its bid to join the European Union.  European politicians have already warned Ankara not to even consider its re-introduction. But with Ankara’s membership bid all but frozen, the international community has little influence, warns columnist Cengiz Aktar.

    "The prime minister is ready to take every single foreign challenge and disregard them for the sake of his presidency and he does not care less of anything. And the European leverage does not exist anymore and the Americans are considering Turkey and its government as the best of the worst in the region. Therefore he feels he has a blank check from the entire world," Aktar said.

    For now the prime minister’s call for the return of the death penalty is being treated by much of the Turkish media as largely political rhetoric. But observers point out any further escalation in fighting by the Kurdish rebels in the environment of a presidential election and with few checks on the prime minister’s power makes Turkey a country whose actions are increasingly difficult to predict.

    You May Like

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora