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Reinstating the Death Sentence Would Be A Step Backwards #TurkeysNewJourney

Reinstating the Death Sentence Would Be A Step Backwards <a class="hashtagger" href="">#TurkeysNewJourney</a>

Public clamoring for the return of the death penalty after a particularly heinous crime is understandable. It is doubly understandable if it involves a child that has been sexually abused and brutally murdered.

Such a clamoring is not restricted to “uncivilized” or “underdeveloped” countries either. British Prime Minister Margret Thatcher wanted it back in 1983 after brutal attacks by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

The death penalty was only abolished in Belgium in 1996, but people were calling for its reinstatement after Marc Paul Alain Dutroux went on trial in 2004 for child molestation and murder.

Had the attackers on Charlie Hebdo in in Paris in January 2015 not been killed by the police, there is no doubt that most French men and women would have called for them to be executed.

Nevertheless, such public clamoring went unheeded by the governments or parliaments of those countries. Many were wise enough to know that taking a step back in time was not the way to go forward in our day and age.

Bringing back this punishment would also not solve any problems. It is statistically proven that the death sentence does not deter crime. It merely represents a visceral desire for vengeance, or what the American’s clinically call “closure.”

Many are also aware that a life sentence without parole, carried out in solitary confinement, is probably much more effective in the final analysis. If you are executed you only die once. If you get life without parole for the horrible crime you committed, then you are effectively buried alive and die practically every day.

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Turkey abolished the death sentence for common crimes in 2002. It subsequently abolished the death penalty in 2004 for all crimes, including treason during times of war. That may have appeared as a major step by Turkey at the time, but the truth is that no one had been executed in this country since 1984.

Capital punishment required parliament’s consent and deputies, with memories of the gross miscarriages of justice under military rule in this respect, were reluctant to give their approval.

Ironically the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which was a member of the coalition led by the late Bulent Ecevit at time, also accepted the abolishment of the death penalty for common crimes.

It was also President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) which abolished it for all crimes in 2004. It is disingenuous now for politicians from these parties, including Erdogan, of course, to support the reinstatement of this punishment. Their call smacks of crude populism.

Bringing back the death penalty would be a major step backwards for Turkey. It would confirm the belief of many in the west, and in this country too, that Turkey is regressing under its present leadership, rather than progressing politically and socially.

It would, in short, put Turkey in the category of lesser advanced countries. This is not the way to go forward.

The best thing is to let those creatures – it would be an insult to animals to call them that – who have been arrested recently for murder and rape perpetrated against children, to die every day of what remains of their lives, than to die once.

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Executing them would merely be doing them a favor.

About The Author

Semih Idiz

Started journalism career in Economic Press Agency in Ankara, and later worked in the Anatolian News Agency, Cumhuriyet daily, Turkish Daily News, NTV news channel, daily Star, daily Aksam, CNN Turk, and daily Milliyet. Currently writes for Al Monitor and Hurriyet Daily News. He has had articles, commentary and analyses published in the Financial Times, the Times, Mediterranean Quarterly and Foreign Policy. He has also been a frequent contributor to local news channels as well as to BBC World, CNN, VOA, NPR, Radio New Zealand, Deutche Welle, various Israeli media organizations, Al Jazeera etc. as a foreign policy expert.

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