The German government said on Friday it would bar Turks from voting on any Turkish referendum on reintroduction of the death penalty anywhere within its borders – a measure proposed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after July’s failed army coup attempt.
Last month, Erdogan expressed his readiness to sign the possible death penalty bill in the event the measure was supported by the people. The leader added that a referendum on the issue may be held.
“It is politically not imaginable that we would approve such a vote in Germany on a measure that goes against our Basic Law and European values,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular news conference, referring to Germany’s constitution.
Ankara accused Berlin of Nazi behavior in March when some German local authorities canceled events where Turkish politicians were to campaign for a referendum giving broad new powers to Erdogan. Voting was allowed at diplomatic premises, but that spat and mass arrests and dismissals in Turkey since the coup have soured relations.
Embassies and consulates enjoy certain privileges and immunities under the 1961 Vienna Convention and Turkey would very likely want to hold voting on their premises to reach some 1.5 million expatriate Turkish voters.
But Seibert said: “If another state wants to hold elections or votes in its consulates here in Germany, then this is subject to (German) authorization.”
Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 as part of a drive for European Union membership. Erdogan has said he will approve its reinstatement if parliament submits such a proposal or if the measure is backed in a referendum.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is seeking a fourth term in a September election, has said Europe should not push Turkey away despite concerns about Erdogan’s tightening grip on power.
Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said on Friday his country would bar Turks from participating in a referendum on the death penalty if Turkey decides on such a vote. Austria is also seeking to end Turkey’s membership bid in the EU, and a growing group of countries say they’ve realized acting as if Turkey is still a constructive partner would amount to a charade.
More so, Belgium’s prime minister said the time has come for the EU to make a final decision about Turkey’s bid for membership, which he called a “dead end.”
Prime Minister Charles Michel said in an interview with The Associated Press that after months of provocations from Erdogan, “masochism must have its limits.”
Michel says he has the impression that the membership process is not the right framework to have a successful dialogue with Turkey.