President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
has said he believes the government should submit a draft on reinstating the death penalty in the event that the constitutional amendments are approved in the upcoming referendum on April 16.
“After April 16, with God’s permission, the draft would be brought to parliament. If it passes in parliament, I will approve it,” Erdoğan said at a rally in the eastern province of Erzurum on April 12.
Although the death penalty has not been in effect since 1984, Turkey abolished the capital punishment in 2004 as a part of reforms to ease Turkey’s accession into the European Union. The move was initiated by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and supported by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
But debates on reinstating the capital punishment were brought to discussion after the July 15, 2016, coup attempt. Erdoğan vows the people’s demand for the death penalty would be met. Calls for the death penalty were among the most recited chants in public rallies.
“April 16 will be the day to decide that,” he said.
Erdoğan said the reinstatement of the death penalty could be brought to the agenda with a consensus of all political parties.
“Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu
[leader of the Republican People’s Party – CHP] says he would approve it. I hope he will not deny it when time comes. Mr. Devlet Bahçeli, [leader of the Nationalist Movement Party - MHP] already said yes. And Mr. Binali Yıldırım [Prime Minister] is the same,” he said, adding that it would be put to a referendum if it gets approved in parliament.
“To reinstate the death penalty there needs to be a constitutional amendment, but in an event that the parliament does not approve that, I am telling now, we will appeal to the public with a referendum just like we did for April 16. Let the public decide,” he said.