Erdoğan says he supports restoring death penalty amid nationwide outrage over femicides
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has once again brought up the issue of restoring the death penalty, vowing to approve such legislation if parliament passes it, after the murder of a woman by her ex-husband last week sparked nationwide outrage.
“Everything is expected from the state. They insist on the death penalty and I, as president, say that I would approve the death sentence if parliament passes it. Today, I have the same stance,” Erdoğan told private broadcaster CNN Türk on Aug. 28.
The president’s remarks came about a week after Emine Bulut was brutally murdered by her ex-husband, who slit her throat in a café before the eyes of her 10-year-old daughter. The video of the attack was published online, stirring nationwide outrage. Video footage showed Bulut’s daughter screaming in tears, saying “Mum, don’t die.” Bulut was heard responding, “I don’t want to die.” A trial of Bulut’s murder case will take place on Oct. 9 and 60 lawyers will follow the case.
Erdoğan said “even those in my close circle” have warned him about the reactions that European countries will give in the event of the re-instalment of the death penalty. “They said ‘Europe will do this, another place will do some other thing.”
“But what about the relatives of [Bulut], what would they do?” Erdoğan said.
The president also conveyed that after the killing of Bulut, he told Justice Minister Abdullah Gül to do take all necessary steps within the law.
“We also need to do something else. I am saying this loud and clear; I say we should [re-install] the death penalty,” he said. Erdoğan added that members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) also support the death sentence.
“Some people come out and strive for human rights [for the death penalty]. They say, ‘How can you demand something like this, this does not exist in Europe.’ Will it not happen if it does not exist in Europe? Are we going to diverge from the true and right thing just because it does not exist in Europe?” Erdoğan said.
The death penalty is still being imposed in some states of the U.S., he added.
“I will definitely approve this if parliament discusses it and make a decision. At this point, I believe in the voice of conscience,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the justice minister on Aug. 29 said femicides are “inhumane” but restoring the death penalty is a decision parliament “will make.”
“Violence against women and femicides are inhumane. Both administrative and judicial authorities give the penalties people like this deserve. The president’s approach toward this is clear,” he said.
“We will, of course, do our part in taking additional precautions to avert violence, when parliament opens,” he added.
President accuses ousted mayors of PKK links
The president also said that the dismissed Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) mayors were “transferring the taxes of the public to Qandil Mountains.” He was referring to the headquarters of the illegal PKK in the Qandil Mountains located in northern Iraq and Sinjar Mountains in Iraq’s northwest.
“We suspended three mayors, who were involved in terror, with an administrative decision. Why did we do this? Because they were transferring the taxes, distributed to municipalities for providing services to the public, to Qandil. In Qandil [the taxes] become bullets,” Erdoğan said.
“Moreover, there are a lot of cases concerning the situation,” Erdoğan conveyed, saying many mayors will face investigations and court files.
“We have a lot of cases, all of them will be discussed in detail. Then, parliament will make the necessary decision,” he said.
“Do you think that no investigations, prosecutions or court files will emerge concerning current mayors? These will emerge. The judiciary will make its decisions,” he added.
The Turkish Interior Ministry on Aug. 19 dismissed three mayors in eastern Turkey over what it called terror links.
The mayors of eastern Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van provinces — Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı, Ahmet Türk, and Bedia Özgökçe Ertan — had been suspended.
They are accused of various crimes, including “being a member of a terrorist organization” and “spreading terrorist propaganda,” a ministry statement said.