Merkel tells Erdogan EU "vehemently" against death penalty in Turkey

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday that Berlin and the European Union were vehemently opposed to Turkey reintroducing the death penalty, warning him that it would end Ankara's bid for EU membership.

Erdogan has raised the prospect of reimposing the death penalty as part of his sweeping crackdown in the wake of Friday's failed military coup in the country.

But a government spokeswoman in Berlin said Merkel "emphatically" pointed out to Erdogan in a telephone conversation that any plans to reintroduce the death penalty would be "vehemently" rejected by both Germany and the EU.

Merkel went on to tell the Turkish leader that the death penalty "was in no way compatible with the goal of EU membership," the spokeswoman said.

She also expressed in the conversation with Erdogan "a serious concern" about the wave of arrests and dismissals in the army, police and judiciary.

Earlier in the day at a government briefing, Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said the coup and its aftermath did not place at risk the EU's refugee deal with Ankara. "The two are separate," said Seibert.

EU and Turkey reached a deal in March whereby Brussels promised to pay Ankara 6 billion euros (6.6 billion dollars) over the next three years aimed at improving the lives of the about 3 million refugees in Turkey and stemming the flow of asylum seekers into Europe.

"Turkey committed to implementing the migrant deal before the attempted putsch and we have no indications from any of the discussions that we have had at the weekend or today that anything could have changed about this position," a spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry said.

Thousands of people have been arrested since last week's attempted coup by sections of the Turkish military failed after Erdogan called his supporters and troops loyal to his government onto the streets to head it off.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Monday that 7,271 people have been detained following the putsch, which he said left 145 civilians dead.

The death penalty has not been carried out in Turkey since 1984. Ten years later Ankara legislated to remove it from the nation's statute books as part of its drive to join the EU.

Negotiations with Turkey to join the EU were launched a decade ago but have made little progress amid stiff opposition from several members of the bloc.

Last update: Mon, 18/07/2016 - 21:02

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