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

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer 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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs