AKP to work on limited measure to reinstate death penalty in Turkey

AKP to work on limited measure to reinstate death penalty in Turkey

AKP to work on limited measure to reinstate death penalty in Turkey

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The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has said it is working on reinstating a limited version of capital punishment, which will not be applied retroactively, as the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has expressed its readiness to support any move to this end. 

“[Reinstating] capital punishment is a matter of the constitution and a matter of compromise. If there is an agreement with other political parties on this general demand of the people, than a limited measure [on the death penalty] can be drafted,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım told his parliamentary group on Nov. 1. 

While recalling that the death penalty debate resurfaced after Turkey’s failed July 15 military coup attempt, Yıldırım stressed that any reintroduction of capital punishment would “not be applied retroactively.”

His words came a few hours after MHP head Devlet Bahçeli voiced his party’s readiness its support for reinstating capital punishment, if the AKP puts forward a constitutional amendment. 

“The people want the death penalty. If the AKP is ready, the MHP has always been ready,” Bahçeli told his party’s lawmakers on Nov. 1. 

“Come and let’s resolve this issue,” Bahçeli said. 

The statements from the two leaders came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he believed the government would soon introduce a constitutional amendment on reinstating capital punishment, which was abolished in Turkey in 2004 in line with Ankara’s European Union accession process. 

The AKP has 316 seats in parliament and needs an extra 14 seats to take a constitutional amendment to a referendum. The MHP is the fourth largest party in the Turkish Parliament, with 40 seats.

AKP ‘working on new constitution’ 

Prime Minister Yıldırım said his government was working on producing a new constitution draft, but was ready to discuss its content with other parties. 

“We have our own draft. We tell [the other parties] to make their own preparations and then go to the people to let them choose which one they approve. Could any proposal be more democratic than this?” he said. 

MHP leader Bahçeli, meanwhile, stressed that his party would wait until the government publicizes its constitutional draft before deciding whether to support it or not. 
“Nobody can divide Turkey. Turkey will not be divided. But if the prime minister makes this assessment, then his remarks should be respected,” Bahçeli said when reminded by reporters of Yıldırım’s claim that Turkey “may face division” if it does not shift to a presidential system.