Turkey reconsiders death penalty following Erdogan’s remarks on wildfires

President Tayyip Erdogan brought up the death penalty in relation to the origin of this week’s wildfires, prompting Turkey to reevaluate its 2004 decision to abolish the death sentence, the justice minister declared on Saturday.


In the early years of Erdogan’s leadership, the death penalty was removed from the constitution. Erdogan, however, said that harsher justice was required in the wake of a fire that burned 4,500 hectares (11,119 acres) of Aegean coastline forest.


According to the authorities, a suspect who was seized in connection with the incident admitted to starting it. Authorities said on Saturday that the forest fire near the resort of Marmaris had been put out.


Erdogan stated that the punishment for burning woods should be ‘intimidating, and if that’s a death sentence, it’s a death sentence’ after viewing the scene on Friday.


Bekir Bozdag, the justice minister, told reporters in the eastern town of Agri on Saturday that the president’s remarks ‘are directives to us.’


Bozdag stated, ‘We have started working on it as the ministry,’ noting that the existing term for igniting a wildfire is 10 years in jail, with a potential life sentence if the offence is committed as part of organised crime.


The nation’s first significant fire of the summer broke out on Tuesday, bringing to mind the worst-ever forest fires, which destroyed 140,000 hectares of land last year.


Suleyman Soylu, the interior minister, reported on Thursday that the detained suspect had admitted to setting fire to the woodland out of aggravation over personal matters.


Local officials recently told Reuters that there was not enough personnel or equipment on hand to prepare for another summer of wildfires.


According to Turkey’s Forestry Minister Vahit Kirisci on Friday, 88 percent of forest fires were sparked by humans.


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