Turkey’s Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said Saturday he hoped to convince his government coalition partners to do away with the death penalty, a key demand for EU membership.
"If Turkey doesn't abolish it by the end of the year we will have missed a key opportunity," he was quoted saying in the Milliyet newspaper.
Ecevit said the death penalty matter would be on the agenda at a meeting of the government's coalition parties next week.
Turkey has had a moratorium on judicial killings since 1984, and in October amended the constitution to outlaw executions except in wartime or for terrorism.
However, the European Union (EU) has insisted that Ankara completely bans the death penalty and also allows schools to teach in the Kurdish language.
Turkey's EU candidacy was conditionally accepted in December 1999 but advancement depends on overall progress shown on human rights and democracy issues. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )