Berlin warns Turkey EU talks would end if it introduces death penalty

Turkey's reintroduction of the death penalty would end its European Union membership talks but did not place at risk the EU's refugee deal with Ankara, German government spokesmen said on Monday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has raised the prospect of the reintroduction of the death penalty as part of his sweeping crackdown in the wake of Friday's failed military coup in the country.

But the government spokesman in Berlin, Steffen Seibert, said: "We categorically reject the death penalty. A country that has the death penalty cannot be an EU member."

"The EU is a community of values and a community that has agreed that the death penalty is not part of its values," said Seibert.

Consequently, he said the reintroduction of the death penalty "would mean the end of the accession negotiations."

Seibert said that while German Chancellor Angela Merkel was in regular contact with Erdogan, the two had not spoken since the attempted coup. However, German and Turkish officials have been in contact, he said.

EU and Turkey reached a deal this year whereby Brussels promised to pay Ankara 6 billion euros (6.6 billion dollars) over the next three years aimed at improving the lives of the about 3 million refugees in Turkey and stemming the flow of asylum seekers into Europe.

"Turkey committed to implementing the migrant deal before the attempted putsch and we have no indications from any of the discussions that we have had at the weekend or today that anything could have changed about this position," a spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry said.

Thousands of people have been arrested since last week's atemmpted coup by sections of the Turkish military failed after Erdogan called his supporters and troops loyal to his government onto the streets to head it off.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Monday that 7,271 people have been detained following the putsch, which he said left 145 civilians dead.

The death penalty has not been carried out in Turkey since 1984.

Ten years later Ankara legislated to remove it from the nation's statute books as part of its drive to join the EU.

Negotiations with Turkey to join the EU were launched a decade ago but have made little progress amid stiff opposition from several members of the bloc.

Last update: Mon, 18/07/2016 - 14:29
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