No amnesty just to empty prisons: Erdoğan
The Justice Ministry is working on whether or not to grant a partial amnesty for some prisoners in response to the Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) law drafted to that end, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, vowing not to take any step that would hurt the people’s conscience.
“They say ‘Prisons are now overcrowded.’ No offense, but no amnesty can be issued merely to empty prisons,” Erdoğan said on Oct. 7 in the Kızılcahamam province of Ankara, where his Justice and Development Party (AKP) held a weekend camp.
The AKP’s main political ally, the MHP, submitted a draft law seeking amnesty for some prisoners to the parliamentary speaker’s office, with party officials saying a total of 162,989 prisoners would “benefit” from the amnesty.
Crimes committed before May 19 will be subject to a one-off five-year conditional reduction of sentences, MHP officials said, adding that those who committed crimes against the state, along with those convicted of terrorism, sexual abuse and murder would not benefit from the bill.
Erdoğan informed that the Justice Ministry is working on this issue, underlining that the AKP’s criteria on issues like pardoning prisoners has always been and will always be the people’s conscience.
“There were so many amnesty laws in the past with an objective to an extent that political gains could be made. We cannot think this way. We have given our instructions to our Justice Minister in accordance with the AKP’s criteria on these issues,” Erdoğan said.
“Justice cannot be provided by acts in haste. It can be provided through laws,” he said, repeating that no such move could be taken on the grounds that the prisons are overcrowded.
Meeting with Bahçeli after Hungary visit
Speaking to reporters, Erdoğan informed he could hold a meeting with MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli after his return from Hungary later this week if the Justice Ministry could conclude its work on the amnesty.
“The MHP has their own bill. We will prepare our own but it does not mean we will not consider the MHP’s proposals. We will see to what extent we agree or do not agree with their proposals,” he said.
Erdoğan will hold a two-day trip to Budapest on Oct. 8 and Oct. 9.
In his address to AKP fellows, Erdoğan slammed both the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Kurdish-question focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in strong-worded remarks, accusing them of siding with separatist terrorist organizations as well as Turkey’s enemies.
“It is not possible for us to consider the HDP as a legitimate political actor,” Erdoğan said, accusing the party of being the political leg of the illegal terrorist organization, PKK.
The CHP is also siding with the enemies of Turkey, including terror organizations, the president said.
“What they are doing can never be called opposition. It can only be called ignominiousness,” he said.