The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has said that any regulation on a possible amnesty bill will be similar to the presidential decree issued on conditional release in 2016, by taking public opinion into account. In a bill submitted last month, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) proposed a one-off conditional five-year sentence reduction for certain types of crimes committed before May 19, 2018.
"The state has no right to grant an amnesty toward the crimes against individuals," President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday in a conference relating to the issue.
"Will we [be] notoriously referred [to] as a government that forgave drug-related crimes?" he said.
Following the presentation given by Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül at the AK Party's Central Executive Board (MYK) recently, the members of the party dwelled on creating a study on the amnesty bill by taking into consideration public opinion.
Two important arrangements were made with the presidential decree announced in 2016. One of the arrangements sees the sentences of convicted prisoners whose conditional release had two years or less remaining on their sentences, to be commuted with probation until their release date. The prisoners that met these conditions were released one year early, according to the decree. However, the crimes of deliberate killings, sexual offenses directed against children and family members, crimes against privacy of life, drug trafficking and manufacturing, crimes against the security of the state, violations against constitutional orders, offenses concerning terrorism and state secrets were excluded in the decree.
In relation to the amnesty debate, MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli responded to Erdoğan's remarks on his Twitter account yesterday, saying: "It [the bill] is currently awaiting consideration at the Justice Commission. If the deputies of the Justice and Development Party do not approve our proposal, then they won't accept it; but if they do, they will give their approval. The issue is this simple."
In response to the comments by Bahçeli, AK Party Spokesman Ömer Çelik said that "If our president had intended to say something to the MHP, he would have clearly mentioned the MHP. I would like to say that Bahçeli's statements about our president are extremely wrong. Of course, the AK Party community and our nation will reject these statements."
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