Turkish president Erdogan pronounces referendum on reintroducing death penalty

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told crowds gathered for an opening ceremony in the western Turkish city of Manisa that the people of Turkey could go to the polls again for the reintroduction of the death penalty.

Erdogan said, “If the death penalty is passed in parliament I will approve it without hesitation. There is just one problem, this needs a constitutional amendment. If need be, we could have another referendum just for this. God willing, we will do this, we will go to the people once again.”

Capital punishment has been abolished in Turkey since 2004 as part of the country’s accession talks with the European Union.

However, after last year’s coup attempt, which the Turkish government blames on the Gulenist movement, talk of reintroducing the death penalty to punish the putshcists has been making its rounds amongst government officials.

“If the parliament passes the legislation, I will approve it straight away. Because this is my debt to our martyrs. I don’t care what the EU will say, or what Hans or George will say,” Erdogan boomed in the city of Kahramanmaras last week, ironically referring to Germany and England.