Turkish PM cools down demands to reinstate death penalty

Turkish PM cools down demands to reinstate death penalty

Turkish PM cools down demands to reinstate death penalty

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There are “deaths worse than death” for the plotters of the July 15 coup attempt compared to death penalty, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said, commenting on a controversial debate on reinstating capital punishment.

“The death penalty is a one-time death, but there are deaths worse than death for the coup plotters. That is an objective and fair judgement,” Yıldırım said in a parliamentary group meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara on Aug. 16, adding that they would not act with the feeling of revenge.

“[U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah] Gülen will come and pay the price. However, we won’t act with the feeling of revenge,” he said, as his speech was cut several times with the audience chanting, “We want the death penalty.”

The debate on the death penalty started after the failed takeover, believed to have been orchestrated by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan defended the idea of reintroducing it, prompting criticism from European Commission Chief Jean-Claude Juncker, who said its reintroduction would lead to the “immediate breaking off of negotiations.” 

“If the people want death penalty, I think the political parties will also accept it,” he said in a pro-democracy rally on Aug. 7, to which the leaders of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) attended. 

Saying the coup plotters aimed to turn people against each other, Yıldırım noted that the people prevented their plans from coming to fruition. 

“July 15 once again showed the world how the people and the government that they’ve chosen sided with each other. Our friends were surprised the next morning, because they didn’t expect it. Their mentors had told them, ‘This is over, Tayyip Erdoğan is gone.’ They started to list where the coup plotters made mistakes, rather than condemning the coup. They started to list 10 golden rules for a coup to become successful. Even if you have a hundred golden rules, you have the people against you,” he said, criticizing foreign countries. 
During his speech, Yıldırım praised the Turkish media for their work on the night of the failed takeover, saying it resisted the coup plotters while “putting their life at risk.” 

“I thank all of our written and visual media organs. They spent a massive effort on the enlightenment of Turkey’s future,” he said, while also thanking lawmakers for not leaving the parliament while the jets used by coup plotters were bombing it on July 15. 

Saying the AKP would continue its fight with FETÖ, Yıldırım added that “it’s not an easy task.” 

“The organization is not transparent. Their system is closed. It’s not easy to understand what’s going on inside it. We will get rid of them like cancer in a body,” he said.

Erdoğan, meanwhile, told members of the Turkish Bar Association that it was parliament that would make a decision on the issue. 

“A parliamentary decision would put an end on the issue, but I don’t know if [parliament] will make such a decision.  However, the matter will be discussed by lawmakers since there is such a demand from the public,” he said. 

“If terror acts were occurring in any European country, capital punishment would be discussed and a state of emergency would be announced there,” he said.