Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced at a rally that he would approve the death penalty if parliament votes to bring it back:
“If the parliament accepts the reintroduction of death penalty, I will accept it,” he told the crowd, adding that the death penalty exists in the U.S., Japan and “many other countries.”
“If the people want death penalty, I think the political parties will also accept it,” he also said, as he noted that the death penalty existed until 1984 in Turkey.
The sudden urge to reintroduce the death penalty comes from the failed coup on July 15. Over 20,000 remain detained on suspicions of links to Fehtullah Gülen, the U.S.-based scholar Erdoğan claims orchestrated the coup.
However, this could officially crush Turkey’s hope to join the European Union. Germany warned the government last week they should not bring back the death penalty:
Addressing a news conference after meeting with other German-speaking foreign ministers in Liechtenstein, [German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter] Steinmeier said reintroducing the death penalty in Turkey – as Erdogan has suggested – would be incompatible with EU values. Ankara’s ties with the EU, and Vienna especially, descended into name-calling on Friday, with Turkey’s foreign minister calling Austria the “capital of radical racism” after Chancellor Christian Kern suggested ending the EU accession talks, which have made minimal progress since they began in 2005.
But Erdoğan did not let this warning get to him:
“If the nation makes such a decision [in support of death penalty], I believe political parties will abide by this decision,“ Erdogan said
“As the sovereignty unconditionally belongs to the nation and as you request the death penalty [for the coup leaders], the authority which is going to decide on this issue is Turkey’s National Assembly. If our parliament takes such a decision, the necessary step will be taken. I am expressing in advance, I will approve such a decision coming from the parliament.”
He added: “They say there is no death penalty in the EU… Well, the US has it, Japan has it, China has it, most of the world has it. So they are allowed to have it. We used to have it until 1984. Sovereignty belongs to the people, so if the people make this decision I am sure the political parties will comply.”
Um, the U.S., Japan, and China are not in the EU. Plus, not all places in America have the death penalty.
Austria has led the charge in the EU against Turkey since the coup attempt. Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz urged his counterpoints not to “come before Ankara on our knees” ad that they “are not supplicants before Turkey.”
It also doesn’t help that Erdoğan has blamed the West for the coup, especially the U.S. since Gülen lives here and the government just won’t hand him over.DONATE
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