Turkey re-evaluates death penalty after Erdogan’s wildfires comment

Istanbul June 25, 2010 Turkey The Justice Minister said on Saturday that he would reconsider the decision to abolish the death penalty after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lifted the death penalty following this week’s fire.

During the early years of Erdogan’s rule, the Constitution condemned him to death. But after the suspected blaze destroyed 4,500 hectares (11,119 acres) of the Aegean coastal forest, Erdogan said strong justice was needed.

Authorities say the suspect arrested in connection with the fire is believed to have committed the act. Authorities say a fire in a forest near the Marmers Resort has been contained.

Sign up now for unlimited access to Reuters.com

After visiting the site on Friday, Erdogan said the punishment for burning forests was “a terrible death sentence.”

“It is a guide for us,” Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told reporters in the eastern city of Agri on Saturday.

“We have started working as a ministry,” Bozdag said, adding that the current punishment for wildfires is 10 years in prison, which can be up to life in prison if it is part of an organized crime.

The country’s first major summer fire began on Tuesday, reminiscent of last year’s fire that destroyed 140,000 hectares of land.

Interior Minister Suleiman Soilu said on Thursday that the arrested suspect had set fire to the forest in anger over family matters. Read more

Local officials told Reuters in recent days that they did not have the necessary equipment and manpower for another winter fire. Read more

On Friday, Forest Development Minister Vahit Kirichchi said 88% of forest fires in Turkey have been started by humans.

Sign up now for unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Ezra Seila; Corrected by Jonathan Spyiser and Mike Harrison

Our standards are published in The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Articles You Might Like

Share This Article

More Stories

Get Your Forest Fire Alerts

We track wildfires and news from satellites, newsbots and Tweets