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German barrier for Turkey’s death penalty referendum

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German Chancellor, Angel Merkel
German Chancellor, Angel Merkel

Turkish citizens living in Germany would not be allowed to vote in a Turkish referendum on reintroducing the death penalty, a government spokesman said Friday.

“It is politically unthinkable that we would agree to a vote on a matter that is contradictory to our constitution and to European values,” Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, said during a government press conference.

“If another country wants to hold an election or vote in its embassies or consulates here in Germany, it is subject to approval,” Seibert said.

Some 1.4 million Turkish citizens in Germany are eligible to vote in Turkish elections. Around half of them participated in a recent referendum to expand the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan has repeatedly stated that he plans to let the people of Turkey decide whether they want the death penalty to be reintroduced in their country.

Such a move would spell the end of Turkey’s accession talks with the European Union. The EU does not permit the death penalty, so its reintroduction by Ankara would automatically exclude Turkey from the bloc.

Martin Schulz, the Social Democrats’ popular new leader who plans to challenge Merkel in the September 24 national election, said earlier that allowing Turks to vote on the matter would be incompatible with “our values and our constitution.”


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