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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More