Erdogan wants death penalty for arsonists

Once again, the country suffers from devastating fires. According to the Ministry of Forest Affairs, 88% are malicious acts, caused by human beings. Visiting the area of ​​the latest fire, the president called for “intimidating” punishments. The Minister of Justice announced the start of the process to “reconsider” the 2004 abolition. Fears about the possibility of the application of the death penalty being extended.

Istanbul () – Turkey is considering reintroducing the death penalty. The pretext: the recent fires – mostly caused – that devastate a part of the country. As a result, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for exemplary sentences, and on a visit to Marmaris, where a vast fire broke out in recent days, he said that the punishment for those who set fires or burn forests should be “intimidating”. . His words were immediately picked up and transmitted by the Ministry of Justice, which announced its intention to “reconsider” the 2004 decision to abolish capital punishment.

Ankara disarmed the executioner by removing capital punishment from the constitution in Erdogan’s first years in power, when he held the position of prime minister (a position that was later annulled after the 2017 constitutional referendum, which gave the president the role of chief of Government). However, the numerous fires of the last period have led the leaders to ask for harsher punishments. The escalation repeats the events of last year and a part of the country criticizes the authorities and the government for the lack of control. The latest arson fire destroyed 4,500 hectares of forest on the Aegean coast.

The authorities arrested a suspect, allegedly responsible for the fire, who apparently already admitted his responsibility in the first interrogation. Meanwhile, firefighters and civil protection teams extinguished the flames and prevented their spread.

After visiting the area affected by the fire, a common phenomenon in Turkey’s summer region as in large areas of the Mediterranean, Erdogan said that the punishment for those who cause the fires should be “intimidating”. And if it’s a death sentence, let it be a death sentence.” His remarks were immediately quoted by Minister Bekir Bozdag, who, addressing reporters during a visit to the eastern city of Agri on June 25, said that The president’s words “are instructions for us. In the ministry we have already begun to work in this direction,” he added. Currently, the penalty for arsonists is 10 years in prison. The goal is to introduce the death penalty, if the fire is related to organized crime.

Activists and experts fear the fires are just a pretext to reintroduce capital punishment. And that the objective is to extend its application to other crimes, in the near future.

In Turkey this summer, the first major fire started on June 21 and brought to mind last year’s devastating fires, the worst ever recorded, which literally burned some 140,000 hectares of land. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu reported that the suspect admitted responsibility for himself, saying that he had set fire to the forest due to family disputes and disagreements. However, in dialogue with Reuterslocal officials admitted that the country does not have enough human resources and means to face another summer of emergency on this front.

According to statements by the Minister of Forestry Affairs, Vahit Kirisci, 88% of forest fires in Turkey are of malicious origin.

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Written by Editor TLN

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