EU must take hard line on rule of law in Turkey, Austria demands

EU countries should send a tough message to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to honour the rules of law and justice after the military's coup attempt, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said Sunday.

The conservative minister talked to the German Press Agency dpa ahead of Monday's meeting of EU top diplomats.

"At the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, Austria will demand that Europe clearly shows Erdogan where the limits are," he said.

Many other EU members share Austria's position, Kurz said.

Kurz condemned the revolt in which 265 people were killed.

"But there must be no arbitrary purges, and no punishments outside the legal and judicial framework," the minister added.

Turkey's top judicial body HSYK dismissed 2,745 judges on Saturday, according to state-run Anadolu news agency. Ten HSYK members were also detained.

Kurz also demanded a pledge from Turkey that it will keep capital punishment abolished. Erdogan said Saturday that parliament could discuss the implementation of the death penalty, reacting to calls from his supporters.

The minister said that developments in Turkey proved that the European Union must take its own steps to curb mass immigration, independent of the EU-Turkey refugee swap agreement.

Austria has been wary of the EU's dependence on Turkey to stop migration from the Middle East. The Vienna government has been among the countries that closed down the Balkan migration route, which connects Turkey with Western Europe.

"The migration pact must not be used as a reason to sway from our fundamental values," he said.

Last update: Sun, 17/07/2016 - 11:42
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