PACE warns reinstatement of death penalty incompatible with CoE membership

General Rapporteur on abolition of the death penalty for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Yves Cruchten has said plans by Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to reintroduce capital punishment in Turkey is incompatible with Council of Europe (CoE) membership.

“I would like to recall that no executions are currently carried out in the 47 member states of the Council of Europe. Rejection of capital punishment is a basic principle of our organization,” he said in a press statement on Wednesday.

After claiming victory in a referendum that greatly expanded his powers, Erdoğan on Sunday strongly hinted that the time has come for Turkey to consider reinstating the death penalty.

Erdoğan used his victory speech on Sunday night to reveal that he will “immediately” discuss bringing back capital punishment with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and the leader of the nationalist opposition.

“If it [the legislation] comes to me, I will approve it,” Erdoğan said. “But if there is no support [from Parliament] … then what shall we do?”

“Then we could have another referendum for that,” he added.

The debate over the death penalty re-emerged after a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

“PACE has helped turn Europe into a death penalty free continent, by making a moratorium on executions and a commitment to abolition a condition for accession. The Assembly will not accept any backsliding on this. President Erdoğan should be under no illusion: reintroducing the death penalty would be simply incompatible with Turkey’s continued membership of the Council of Europe,” Cruchten said. ( April 19, 2017

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