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Iran Press TV

Turkish PM withdraws calls for reinstatement of death penalty

Iran Press TV

Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:48PM

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has withdrawn his previous calls for the reinstatement of death penalty as a way of dealing with those believed to have played a role in the mid-July abortive coup.

Yildirim said Tuesday that a fair trial would be a harsher punishment for suspected coup plotters than the death penalty, apparently reversing the previous government stance which said that capital punishment should be reintroduced to deal with those behind the failed coup.

Turkey abolished capital punishment in 2004 as part of its reforms to join the European Union. EU members have warned that a reinstatement of the measure, as suggested by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, could mean an end to Ankara's bid for EU accession.

Since July 16, when Turkey declared the one-day coup attempt over, the country has arrested nearly 20,000 people as part of its massive crackdown on alleged putschists. Western governments have criticized the arrests as well as about 70,000 cases of dismissals and suspensions involving members of the military and public institutions, saying Ankara is acting beyond the rule of law.

Yildirim, who was speaking to members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the parliament, said Turkey has tougher ways of dealing with plotters than sentencing them to death.

"There are tougher ways to die than the death (penalty) for them. That is an impartial and fair trial," Yildirim said, adding that "a person dies only once when executed."

President Erdogan himself has barely mentioned the case in his latest speeches in recent days.

Yildirim said, however, that Turkey would not hesitate in dealing with the plotters, saying Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the coup, would be brought to account.

"Those responsible for the blood of our martyrs will be brought to account. We will not bring them to account acting out of revenge. We will bring them to account with justice," the Turkish premier stated.

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