President Erdogan has suggested that Turkey may restore the death penalty, in response to the recent failed coup d'état attempt. However, Turkey has signed and ratified Protocol 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, that calls for the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances.

Assuming Turkey does restore the death penalty and given current law and treaties, will the country's membership in the Council of Europe be affected? And if so, how?

  • I've been asking this to myself as well, therefore +1 Jul 18, 2016 at 5:58
  • This is a completely speculative question. We can't see the future so we don't know how the CoE might react.
    – Philipp
    Jul 18, 2016 at 8:07
  • 5
    I'd assume there'd be at least a rough outline of what happens when a member backs down on one of the protocols they've signed @Philipp. I think this is answerable, regardless of whether Turkey restores the death penalty or not.
    – yannis
    Jul 18, 2016 at 8:08
  • My guess is that this failed coup (and its repercussions) will also set Turkey's attempted EU membership (always a long shot) back by at least another 20 years. It is now so much easier for the likes of Mrs. Merkel to say No!
    – Drux
    Jul 18, 2016 at 9:33
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    If not answerable, then I think that "We can't know" would make a sufficient answer if justified. What has happened in similar situations? Do the precedents apply directly? Or only tangentially? Can anything happen? Is there any mechanism for the Council to expel Turkey? I think I'll add a clarifying edit to focus this better.
    – Brythan
    Jul 18, 2016 at 23:41

1 Answer 1


Yesterday Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, commented exactly on this issue.

The main point was that the protocols nos. 6 and 13 explicitely condemn death penalty and therefore this was incompatible with a membership in the Council of Europe. Turkey has signed these protocols as well, its membership is bound to them.

To sum it up with a quote from above linked article:

"No member state can exercise capital punishment," said Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, quoted by a spokesman.

  • But what would happen, and at what point?
    – phoog
    Oct 3, 2017 at 22:24
  • @phoog not being accepted.
    – CptEric
    Oct 4, 2017 at 8:18
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    @CptEric you mean Turkey not being accepted? It has already been accepted; it has been a member since 1949. Would it be expelled? The secretary general didn't actually say that. Is there a mechanism for expulsion of a member state? Or do you mean that Turkey's reinstatement of the death penalty wouldn't be accepted? If so, how would that lack of acceptance manifest itself? Is there a mechanism for enforcement of the ECHR?
    – phoog
    Oct 4, 2017 at 14:31
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    @phoog Not being accepted in the european union as they've been trying to. As for expulsion: Articles 8 and 9 concern the procedures for expulsion and suspension. Any member of the Council of Europe which has seriously violated the provisions laid down in Article 3 may be suspended from its rights of representation and may be asked by the Committee of Ministers to withdraw from the organisation. If the state does not agree to the request, the Committee may decide that the state has ceased to be a member of the Council as from such date as determined by the Committee.
    – CptEric
    Oct 4, 2017 at 17:26
  • @phoog turkey was actually removed from it in 1980 and re-added in 1984.
    – CptEric
    Oct 4, 2017 at 17:27

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