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Merkel: No EU Membership If Turkey Brings Death Penalty For Coup Plotters

The German Federal government and Chancellor Angela Merkel have slammed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for suggesting the death penalty could be brought in for plotters of last weekend’s unsuccessful coup.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government has spoken out against a possible reintroduction of the death penalty in Turkey. President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said that the death penalty could be brought back to punish the plotters of the failed coup attempt in Turkey over the weekend.

The German government has said that if Turkey executes the plotters, it would be the end of negotiations for the nation’s potential membership of the European Union (EU), reports Die Welt.

Spokesman for the Federal government, Steffen Seibert, commented on the issue in Berlin on behalf of the Chancellor saying: “We reject the death penalty categorically. A country which has the death penalty can not join the European Union.”

The death penalty is banned in every EU member state and abolishing it is required for any prospective members. “The EU is a community of values and a community that has been agreed that the death penalty is outside of their values,” he added.

The EU attitude toward the death penalty has also extended to extradition cases in which a prisoner could face the death penalty in another country. The most notable case in recent UK history was the extradition of Islamic hate preacher Abu Hamza who was almost blocked from being tried in the United states because he may have faced the death penalty.

The execution of criminals in Turkey has not been in practice since 1984, though the law was not formally abolished until 2004. As a signee to the European Convention on Human Rights, a requirement for EU membership, Turkey is also prohibited from legislating the return of capital punishment.

Chancellor Merkel and her government are not the only ones to come out against Mr. Erdoğan’s proposal. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said: “No country can join the EU if it introduces the death penalty.”

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz came out against the announcement by the Turkish president and the Turkish government’s move to arrest thousands of members of the Turkish judiciary in the aftermath of the coup saying: “The 6,000 arrests with 3,000 members of the judiciary in our view is absolutely unacceptable.” He further went on to say: “Anyone who imports the death penalty, definitely has no place in the EU.”

Whether or not President Erdoğan will listen to European leaders is unclear as in the past he has been reluctant to give in to EU demands regarding access to visa-free travel for Turkish citizens.

One of the stipulations for visa-free travel was a reformation of the Turkish terror laws that have seen journalists and political opponents targeted for “insulting” the president. When questioned about the lack of reforms the response from Mr. Erdoğan and his deputies has been a long stream of threats to unleash the wave of migrants into Europe.

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