Brussels Says Death Penalty Would End Turkey’s EU Bid

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker (Photo: Getty Images)

The European Union has said introducing the death penalty would end Turkey’s longstanding bid to join the bloc, describing the measure as a “red line” in Turkey’s painful path to become the member.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a German newspaper on Monday that the capital punishment will be the “reddest of all red lines” in membership negotiations that were already stalled for many years.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan many times vowed to sign into law if the Turkish Parliament restores the death penalty. He also said membership talks with the EU would be ended if new chapters are not opened and that he is inclined to hold a Brexit-style referendum.

Mr. Juncker said introducing the death penalty would be a “clear denial” of Turkey’s place in the “European family.”

Mr. Juncker added that the union is based on respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law, as well as on the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and fundamental freedoms.

Last week, former European Parliament President Martin Schulz said Turks should be banned from voting in a referendum on the death penalty. German government spokesman Steffen Seibert also ruled out the participation of Turks in a capital punishment referendum.

With respect to the EU funding for members of the Turkish judiciary, Mr. Juncker said the bloc should introduce a moratorium on financial allocations. “It is absurd to put money into the judges’ training when these judges are in prison,” the Commission President said.


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