Turkey's top prosecutor defends death penalty for femicides

The Court of Cassation’s Chief Public Prosecutor Bekir Şahin has defended the reintroduction of the death penalty sentence for femicides.

Duvar English

The Court of Cassation’s Chief Public Prosecutor Bekir Şahin has suggested the reinstatement of the death penalty for femicides, the daily Hürriyet reported on Jan. 5.

The state prosecutor from the top appeals court said “the most severe punishment for femicide is aggravated life imprisonment. In the past, the equivalent of this was the death penalty. In my opinion, the sentence for proven guilty should be the death penalty.”

“Some crimes should be sentenced with the death penalty. A person who murders a pregnant woman with countless stab wounds should be executed instead of an aggravated life sentence. Aggravated life imprisonment is not a deterrent,” Şahin added.

Turkey scrapped the death penalty in 2004 as part of its push to join the European Union. 

The prosecutor also claimed that the Istanbul Convention was not preventing femicides. “(femicide) happens when there is and isn’t the convention.”

On July 1, 2021, the country formally left the convention aimed at protecting women from violence, triggering massive protests and anger from women’s rights groups, who believed the agreement was essential.

In response to Şahin, the Women Solidarity Committees said “The right-wing politics' support for the death penalty and their efforts to legitimize it through femicides tell us something. First of all, we see that Islamist and nationalist politics use and instrumentalize women to realize their political agenda.”

It said the studies had shown that the death penalty sentence had no effect on crime prevention.

“If mechanisms to protect women from violence were implemented before the crime occurred, if there was a social system to ensure this, these women would be alive. However, the deficiencies are not discussed, the death penalty is,” it added, according to reporting from online news outlet soL Haber.

Turkey, the first country to ratify the Istanbul Convention in 2011, suffers from high rates of femicide. The “We Will Stop Femicides Platform reported 315 femicides and 215 suspicious female deaths during 2023.