Turkey, Politics

Turkish opposition MHP voices support for death penalty

Leader Devlet Bahceli says party will back any government bill to reintroduce punishment for war crimes, terrorism

 Turkish opposition MHP voices support for death penalty


By Emin Avundukluoglu


The opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on Tuesday said it was ready to reinstate the death penalty in Turkey.

Leader Devlet Bahceli said his party -- the smallest in parliament with 40 seats -- would support the Justice and Development (AK) Party government in bringing back the punishment.

“If the death penalty is needed, if our nation wants that -- in this case there is no need for pretext, to hide the main objective, to discuss it unnecessarily,” he said in televised comments to MHP members at the parliament.

“If the AK Party is ready, the MHP is more than willing to do that.”

The issue of the death penalty, which was last used in Turkey in 1984 and outlawed in 2004, has risen to prominence since the July 15 coup attempt. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and government ministers have expressed their support for its return.

“No worries, it is [coming] sometime soon,” the president said on Sunday. “The government will submit it [a bill] to parliament, which I believe will pass it.”

To introduce a referendum on the issue, the government, which has 316 parliamentary deputies, would need the support of at least 14 other lawmakers.

Bahceli called on Prime Minister Binali Yildirim to submit a death penalty bill to parliament soon. “Let's get it done, let’s pay people back who treat our nation and state as an enemy,” he said.

He said the penalty should be imposed for terrorism and war crimes.

In a warning to European leaders who have cautioned Turkey against the return of the death penalty, Bahceli added: “EU commissioners should mind their own business. The only authority we will take advice from is the Turkish nation. Turkey is not governed from Brussels but from the Turkish parliament.”

Bahceli also supported Erdogan's remarks that Turkey would not allow Sinjar in northwestern Iraq to be the “new Qandil” for the PKK terrorist organization.

The PKK is known to have camps and its headquarters in Qandil Mountains in northeastern Iraq.

"The Turkish state has the wisdom and the resistance to follow and destroy traitors even in Iraqi territories such as Sinjar," Bahceli said.

Bahceli said the MHP would also support the Turkish government in any operation against the PKK terrorist organization in Sinjar and Qandil.

"To raise the Turkish flag in Qandil and Sinjar is our nation's right, no matter whoever says what," he said.

About the ongoing operation to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from Daesh, Bahceli said Turkey's role in the operation had a historical significance and a vital importance to its security.

“The retarded claim Turkey would end up losing Diyarbakir [in southeastern Turkey] if it entered Mosul…the destiny of Mosul and Kirkuk [in northeastern Iraq] is not different from Ankara and Istanbul."

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