Capital Punishment Berlin Bars German Turks from Voting on Death Penalty

The 1.4 million Turkish voters living in Germany will not be able to vote on a proposed referendum on reinstating capital punishment in Turkey, said Angela Merkel.
Less strained times for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, observing a fly past during a NATO Summit in Warsaw in July 2016.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has put her foot down on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan campaigning again in the country, this time to reinstate capital punishment in Turkey.

Ms. Merkel allowed campaigning for an April referendum to expand executive powers in the Mediterranean country, looking to ease tensions caused by the EU-Turkey deal restricting the overwhelming flow of refugees to Europe.

However, when it comes to capital punishment, which Mr. Erdogan has stated would be an upcoming battle after winning the first referendum, the German leader flat-out refuses.

"We will not give permission for something we are not obligated to do, and which content we absolutely reject, for example, the death penalty," she told German public broadcaster WDR.

Mr. Erdogan has been lobbying for a reinstatement of the death penalty since a failed military coup in July of last year. Turkey abolished capital punishment in 2004 as it endeavored to join the EU, where a ban on executions is enshrined in the bloc's Charter of Fundamental Rights.

NATO allies Turkey and Germany have been on poor terms since the run-up to the April referendum, when Mr. Erdogan accused the country of using "Nazi" methods after campaign events were barred. German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel has also been held in an Ankara jail since February, where he maintains his innocence.

Ms. Merkel told the broadcaster a request from Turkey to hold rallies on death penalty reinstatement has not been submitted yet, but assured it would be shot down.

If Turkey were to bring back capital punishment, it would be the end of the country's long-running bid for EU membership.