President Erdoğan: Turkey Could Hold Another Referendum Death Penalty

Turkey could head to yet another referendum to decide on whether to restore capital punishment if parliament disapproves of the change, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Feb. 24.

“I said I would approve [restoring] the death penalty if it is approved by parliament. But the problem is that such a change requires a constitutional amendment. So let me say now: We could also pave the way for a referendum on this if it is disapproved by parliament. God willing, we will go to the nation for a referendum on that too. If the nation says ‘bring back the death penalty,’ the issue is closed,” Erdoğan said at a rally in the Aegean province of Manisa, canvassing ahead of the April 16 referendum on constitutional amendments that will shift Turkey from the current parliamentary system to an executive presidency.

Since the coup attempt, Erdoğan has repeatedly voiced his willingness to approve the restoration if parliament approves it.

Although the law was still on the books until 2004, Turkey had not executed any prisoners since October 1984.

Meanwhile, regarding the April 16 referendum, Erdoğan said that voting in favor of the changes “meant fast trains, two-lane highways, and having the world’s biggest airport.”

“We had just 25 airports [in the past]. Now we have 59 airports. [Voting] yes on April 16 means the continuation of these works. It means saying ‘Further!’” he added.

Erdoğan also noted that Turkey did not have any fast trains until the ruling Justice and the Development Party (AKP) took office in 2002, vowing that a “yes” vote would spur development of such infrastructure projects.