Opposition MHP calls on AKP gov’t to swiftly reinstate death penalty
ANKARANationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has issued a strong call to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to swiftly reinstitute the death penalty amid warnings from the European Union.
“Once again I declare my determination. The MHP is present with its full power for a proposal or a draft that will be prepared and accepted in parliament after discussions regarding the imposition of the death penalty,” Bahçeli said in a parliamentary group meeting on May 9. “It is waiting for this issue to be closed swiftly.”
The reinstitution of the death penalty was brought to the agenda repeatedly ahead of the April 16 constitutional referendum, particularly by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who promised to approve any constitutional amendment that would bring back capital punishment. Erdoğan said the people were demanding the penalty from the government, especially after the July 2016 coup attempt.
“Is the death penalty a social demand? Yes. Will the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) support it? Yes. Will the president approve it if the law is conveyed to him? That is a ‘yes’ too. Then we should not wait, sing in someone else’s tone or be late. Instead, we should show what Turkey is and will be by declaring to everybody her independence,” he said, eliciting applause from party members in the group meeting.
The death penalty has not been implemented since 1984, while Turkey formally abolished capital punishment in 2004 as part of reforms to ease Turkey’s accession to the European Union.
European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said in March that any return of the death penalty in Turkey would be a “red line” in the country’s stalled EU membership bid.
Bahçeli criticized Europe’s position on the issue.
“Now some European countries say they will not allow a possible referendum concerning the death penalty.
So much so that they argue and state that capital punishment is against all the values of European countries. So, is it a part of European values to give support to terrorist organizations?” he said.