Parliament to discuss re-implementation of death penalty


Discussions on the reinstatement of the death penalty are expected to be taken to the General Assembly of the Turkish Parliament in the near future. The topic, which has been widely advocated by the public in the aftermath of the failed July 15 coup attempt, was once again brought to the forefront by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at a Republic Day reception which was held on Oct. 29 marking the 93rd anniversary of Republic of Turkey. "This matter should not be postponed any further as there is a public demand for it," said Erdoğan, adding that he believed the government would bring the matter to Parliament and the ministers would take the right decision.

Regarding discussions on the death penalty in Turkey, the Council of Europe (CoE) stated, "Executing the death penalty is incompatible with membership in the CoE." When asked whether reinstating the death penalty would create more issues with the EU, President Erdoğan replied, "The EU cannot bring back 246 people who were martyred, nor can they restore the lives of 2,194 people who were wounded on the night of the coup," Erdoğan said. Moreover, the president asserted that the people's demands regarding a certain matter always supersede what "the West" thinks about it.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also spoke about the reinstatement of the death penalty saying that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) lacks the required 14 seats to take the issue to a referendum by themselves, adding that they will discuss the matter with other parties in parliament. "As we cannot take this issue to a referendum by ourselves, we will seek ways to reach a compromise with other parties," said Yıldırım.

According to the Turkish Penal Code, any proposed constitutional reform must receive at least 330 parliamentary votes to be taken to a referendum, while 367 votes are needed to directly pass the proposed change. The death penalty was banned in 2004 as part of Turkey's EU harmonization process and no one has been put to death in the country since 1984.

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