Turkey’s Erdoğan, ultranationalist ally agree to bring back death penalty

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ultranationalist ally Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), have agreed to a proposal that could see the death penalty reinstated in Turkey, according to a report by the Cumhuriyet newspaper on Tuesday.

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

Amnesty for other crimes is also on the agenda, Cumhuriyet said. Bahçeli has long advocated such an idea, and his party recently prepared draft legislation on the issue.

Both the reinstatement of the death penalty and the proposed amnesty would require amending the Turkish Constitution. This necessitates support from at least 360 of parliament’s 600 members. The MHP and President Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) together won around 20 seats less than this number in June’s general election.

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.

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