Turkey would execute Öcalan if death penalty reinstated – far-right leader

Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) armed militant group, will be executed if Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signs off on a law to restore the death penalty, independent news site T24 quoted the leader of the far-right Grand Unity Party (BBP) as saying.

Erdoğan last week said he would agree to restore the death penalty, which Turkey abolished in 2004, if parliament passed such a law. The move would end Turkey’s decades-long bid to join the European Union.

Tens of thousands of people, mainly Kurds, have been killed in fighting between security forces and the PKK since Öcalan’s group took up arms in 1984.

“Does Öcalan’s connection to a terrorist organisation still continue? It does. Is he still the leader of a terrorist organisation? He is. Does he still give orders? He does. As such, if he is tried as the instructor of these acts and receives the death penalty, then he will be executed,” BBP leader Mustafa Destici said.

The BBP has just one seat in the 600-seat parliament, but its views chime with many among the ruling party and its far-right coalition allies.

Destici previously suggested a proposal to reinstate the death penalty for offences such as murder, treason and sexual offences against children would be introduced to Turkey’s parliament in October. He also suggested a referendum could be held in which the electorate could decide on the issue.