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Turkish leader in death penalty vow after bomb kills mother and baby

Turkey has not executed anyone since 1984 and the country abolished the death penalty in 2004 as part of its bid to join the European Union.

Turkey could move soon to reinstate the death penalty, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said while attending the funeral of a young mother and her infant son who were killed by a roadside bomb.

Turkish authorities have blamed Tuesday’s attack near the borders of Iran and Iraq on Kurdish rebels.

They said the mother and child were targeted with an improvised explosive device on a road near the town of Yuksekova.

The 24-year-old woman was driving back from visiting her husband, a sergeant in the Turkish army, with her 11-month-old son.

She died instantly, while the baby died in hospital.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and soldier Serkan Karakaya, the victim’s husband, carry her coffin after funeral prayers in Sivas (Presidential Press Service via AP)

Mr Erdogan, who flew to the central Turkish city of Sivas to attend the funeral, vowed to press ahead with the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) “until the last terrorist remains”.

Responding to mourners’ shouts calling for the death penalty, Mr Erdogan reiterated that he would not hesitate to approve capital punishment if Turkey’s parliament passed a law authorising it.

“The steps that we will take on the issue are close,” the president said.

Turkey has not executed anyone since 1984.

The country abolished the death penalty in 2004 as part of its bid to join the European Union.

The rebels of the PKK have waged a three-decade old insurgency in Turkey’s mostly Kurdish south-east region.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people.

The group is considered a terror organisation by Turkey and its Western allies.

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