Turks in Germany won't be allowed to vote on death penalty: Merkel

Reuters News
Posted: May 09, 2017 6:55 AM

BERLIN (Reuters) - Turks living in Germany will not be allowed to vote in any referendum on reinstating the death penalty, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in remarks broadcast on Tuesday.

Germany allowed Turks to vote last month in a referendum that endorsed broad new powers for President Tayyip Erdogan. But many local authorities banned campaign rallies, something Erdogan compared to naziism, causing a diplomatic rift.

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 and mass arrests since a coup attempt last July.

But she confirmed what her spokesman said last week, that Germany would not authorize Turkish consulates and embassies to act as polling stations on reinstating the death penalty - banned in all European Union countries - in Turkey.

"We usually don't answer hypothetical questions but this question is unfortunately, unfortunately not so hypothetical as it is being discussed in Turkey," Merkel told broadcaster WDR.

"I thought it was important to say that we cannot give permission on German soil to a subject matter such as the death penalty that we absolutely reject."

Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 as part of a drive for EU membership. Erdogan has said he will approve its reinstatement if parliament submits such a proposal or if the measure is backed in a referendum.

Embassies and consulates enjoy certain privileges 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.

(Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)