Erdoğan regrets abolishing death penalty, vows to sign off if parliament approves

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday said he is ready to sign off on restoring the death penalty in the country, should the country’s parliament pass it, independent news site Diken reported.

“We made a mistake, we abolished the death penalty,” Erdoğan said during a campaign rally for his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the northern province of Zonguldak ahead of the March 31 local elections.

I have always said it and I will say it again. If our parliament decides on this matter, I will approve it,” the Turkish president added. 

Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004,one year after Erdoğan came into power as prime minister, though no executions have taken place since 1984.

The Turkish president has repeatedly said that he would approve, “without hesitation” the death penalty, if parliament voted to restore it — a move that would effectively end the country’s decades-long bid to join the EU.

Erdoğan on Tuesday also urged New Zealand to restore the death penalty for the gunman who killed 50 people at two mosques on Friday, warning that Turkey would make the attacker pay for his action if New Zealand failed to do so.