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Return of the Death Penalty Will Kill Turkey’s EU Accession Bid

© REUTERS / Murad SezerA soldier protects himself from the mob after troops involved in the coup attempt surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 2016
A soldier protects himself from the mob after troops involved in the coup attempt surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 2016 - Sputnik International
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has warned that any moves by Turkey to reintroduce the death penalty will immediately end the country’s EU accession process. Sputnik discussed the matter with Murat Bilhan, vice president of the Turkish Asian Center for Strategic Studies, an Istanbul-based independent think tank.

“I don’t think that many in Turkey are happy about such a prospect and I believe that more than half of our people are against the resumption of executions. I don’t know whether there have been any public opinion polls about this held here, but in any case I don’t think they will bring back the death punishment because this would be a big step back for Turkish democracy,” Murat Bilhan said.

Gencehan Babis, an expert on global problems and international security at the Turkish Institute for Strategic Studies in Ankara, told Sputnik that it would be wrong to view EU-Turkish relations from the point of view of the use of capital punishment alone.

“There has been much talk about the proposed reintroduction the death penalty since the attempted coup earlier this month. 1984 was the last time capital punished was used here and the death penalty was officially outlawed in 2004 but this did not result in any breakthrough in our relations with the EU,” Gencehan Babis said.

Turkish Former Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu - Sputnik International
EU Has No Right to Blackmail Turkey Over Death Penalty Issue - FM
He also added that if the use or non-use of capital punishment were the only thing hampering closer ties between Ankara and Brussels, Turkey would have long ago been admitted to the European Union.

“Disputes like this occasionally happen between us, but EU demands will have absolutely no effect on the Turkish MPs to reintroduce the death penalty or not. Any decision they make should be respected. I don’t think the EU should have made statements like these because it is up to the Turkish people to decide exactly what kind of democracy they want to live in.”

As for the prospects of Turkey being admitted to the EU, Gencehan Babis described them as “rather dim.”

After the coup attempt in Turkey, both President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Yildirim said that capital punishment could be reinstated in the country.

President Erdogan told crowds of supporters gathered outside his residence in Istanbul that parliament must consider the public demand for the death penalty to be applied in the case of the coup plotters.

The death penalty was abolished in Turkey in 2004 to bring its legislation in line with EU standards.

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