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Turkey Discusses Capital Punishment After Death of Missing Girl

Former Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek threw his full-throated support after the uncle of a four-year-old girl found dead in eastern Turkey demanded the reinstatement of the death penalty as the public devolved into a heated debate over the severity of penalties to stem the rise of child abuses and murders.

The murder of Leyla Aydemir who went missing in the first day of Eid last month in the eastern province of Agri bordering Iran sparked public anger. After more than two weeks of efforts to find the little girl, her dead body in near a river was discovered on Monday.

Agri Governor Suleyman Erban said the girl probably died of starvation. The initial belief was that the little girl might have been killed by some assailants. But, the governor said there was no such a sign.

The incident aroused a swelling anger in the public. After the funeral ceremony, Yusuf Aydemir, the uncle of the slain girl, demanded death penalty for those who are responsible for the killing of Leyla.

Gokcek, the former mayor of Ankara who resigned from his post late last year after facing pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, tapped into the public anger and launched a survey on his Twitter account whether perpetrators, if found, would be executed.

In his survey, he asked his followers what kind of punishment would be employed. Chemical castration and capital punishment are among the types of punishments that he proposes should be carried out against child abusers and rapists.

Death penalty was thrown back to the heart of political conversation after a failed coup in 2016. President Erdogan displayed an eagerness to move forward with the reinstatement of the capital punishment, which was abolished in 2004 in line with E.U. accession reforms, against the coup plotters if Parliament enacts such a bill. He pledged to sign any bill into law if the legislative body would heed the calls of the people amid a surge of demands to reintroduce the death sentence, to the chagrin of Brussels which warned Ankara that any such move would terminate Turkey’s negotiation process to join the E.U.

Acun Karadag, who sacked by the government with an emergency decree, expressed her concerns on her Twitter account. She said death penalty will be reinstated and after executions of some rapists, critics of the government would be next in line to be executed like in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Egypt.

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