Berlin won’t allow expat vote in Germany on reinstating death penalty in Turkey

Germany said on Friday it would not allow Turks in its territory to vote in any Turkish referendum on the reintroduction of the death penalty, a measure proposed by Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following a failed coup on July 15, 2016.

“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.

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.”

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) Martin Schulz has also said that Germany cannot let Turkish expats vote for a potential referendum on reinstating capital punishment in Turkey, “If the Turkish government really does hold a referendum on reinstating the death penalty, it must be clear that such a vote cannot take place among the Turks living in Germany,” Schulz told Der Spiegel magazine. “We cannot allow voting in Germany that contradicts our values and our constitution,” he added.

According to reports in the German media, the Bundestag has already begun legal examinations on a possible Turkish referendum on reinstating the death penalty in the country, with experts noting that the German government could have the authority to prevent such a referendum from taking place in Germany through legal means.

Since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, Erdoğan has repeatedly voiced his willingness to approve the restoration if Turkish parliament legislates death penalty. He has also stressed that the country could head to yet another referendum to decide on whether to restore capital punishment if parliament disapproves of the change.

Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 as part of a drive for European Union membership. (SCF with May 5, 2017


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