Turkish leaders agree to bring back death penalty

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the leader of his far-right junior coalition partner, Devlet Bahçeli, have agreed to a proposal that could see the death penalty restored in Turkey, Cumhuriyet newspaper said on Tuesday.

The two leaders want to see the death penalty restored for terrorism offences and the murder of women and children, having discussed the issue at a meeting held at the end of July, the newspaper said.

An amnesty for other crimes is also on the agenda, Cumhuriyet said. Bahçeli has long advocated such an idea and his Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) recently produced draft legislation relating to the issue.

Both the reinstatement of the death penalty and the proposed amnesty would require amending Turkey’s constitution. This requires support from at least 360 of parliament’s 600 members. The MHP and Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party together won around 20 seats less than this in June’s parliamentary elections.

Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004, though no executions have taken place since 1984. Restoring the death penalty would put an end to Turkey’s already dormant bid to join the European Union.