Turkey’s bid to join the European Union will come to an end if the country reinstates the death penalty, president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said on Monday.
“If Turkey should bring back the death penalty, we will immediately stop the negotiation process,” Juncker told France 2 television station, adding that a country that recognizes capital punishment has no place within the EU.
Juncker said he does not believe Turkey will become an EU member in the near or long term because of the “current circumstances” in the country.
Calls for reinstating the death penalty have been growing in Turkey since the July 15 coup attempt, which martyred at least 246 people and injured more than 2,100 others.
The European Union early last week called for an “unequivocal rejection of the death penalty”.
But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the people’s demands cannot be overlooked in democracies, and that “this right shall be examined within the constitutional framework by the concerned authorities.”
During an interview with France 24 on Saturday, Erdogan said: “In democracies, sovereignty rests unconditionally with the nation.”
“Is there capital punishment in the U.S.? There is. In Russia? There is. China? There is. Capital punishment exists in the large majority of the world,” he added.
Erdogan said the EU had left Turkey waiting for a membership for 53 years. Erdogan asked if countries, which have become EU member states, are more eligible for membership in the bloc than Turkey.
“We are a more advanced country than all of them...from fundamental rights and freedoms to economic opportunities,” he said.
Turkey has been a candidate country for EU membership since 2005.
Chapter 33 of Turkey’s European Union accession process, which covers economic and financial provisions, was opened last month.