Council of Europe warned Turkey against reintroducing death penalty

October 30, 2016 7:30 pm

Demonstrators hold a banner reading “Cancel the state of emergency” as they protest against the extension of the state of emergency, on October 15, 2016 in Ankara. (AFP photo)

The Council of Europe has warned against reinstating the death penalty as a way of punishing the plotters of a mid-July coup attempt, saying reestablishing the measure would mean an end to Ankara’s dreams for joining the European Union. 
“Executing the death penalty is incompatible with membership of the Council of Europe,” said the council in a tweet.
Turkey is a member of the Council and has ratified the European Convention on Human Rights, a treaty signed in 1983 which at first excluded capital punishment except in time of war or imminent threat of war. The protocol changed in 2002 ending the time-of-war proviso.
However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that the country’s parliament will be asked to consider the reintroduction of the penalty amid a large-scale crackdown on those believed to have played a role in the July 15 coup against his government.
Turkey has arrested some 35,000 people and suspended or fired 100,000 from their positions in the military and public institutions. The EU and some rights campaigners have harshly criticized Ankara’s actions, saying they are beyond the rule of law.
Austria also reacted to Erdogan’s calls for reinstating the death penalty and added to the Council’s warning on Sunday.  Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz warned that the move that would “slam the door shut to the European Union.”
“The death penalty is a cruel and inhumane form of punishment, which has to be abolished worldwide and stands in clear contradiction to the European values,” Kurz said. 
Austria has been a key opponent of Turkey’s bid to join the EU. The 28-nation bloc has been reviewing Turkey’s membership bid since 2005 but there is little hope Ankara could finally accede to the continental body, especially given Turkey’s ratcheting-up of the crackdown on the dissent.
Ankara has shunned EU’s allegations over the post-coup actions, saying it will continue the purge until it finds every single person tied to Fethullah Gulen, a cleric based in the United States whom Turkey accuses of masterminding the coup.
Turkish media said Sunday that a further 10,131 additional government employees, mainly from the education, justice and health ministries, had been fired as part of the crackdown.
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