Turkey has never been less likely to join the European Union than now and the bloc should seek a special relationship with Britain, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said as relations between Ankara and Berlin hit a low point.
“Today Turkey is definitely further away from becoming a member of the European Union than ever before,” Gabriel said in an interview in the last issue of the news magazine Der Spiegel.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also told the German Bild am Sonntag newspaper that Turkish accession to the EU “will not fail due to a lack of willingness on the part of EU members but rather due to Turkey not wanting to introduce European standards”.
Juncker added that if Turkey were to re-introduce the death penalty, that would result in accession talks ending.
On Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said again he expected Parliament to approve the reinstatement of the death penalty after the 16th of April referendum on an extension of his powers.
“The families of martyrs, the families of our heroes must not worry. I believe that if God wants it, Parliament will do what is needed after the 16th of April, as a response to your demands on the death penalty”, Mr Erdogan said during a speech he made in Canakkale in the North-West of Turkey.
Given that his signature is required to validate a Parliament such a law, he added he would approve it “without hesitation”.
The death penalty was abolished in 2004, during Turkey’s application to join the UE. If it is reinstated, it would be the end of that campaign.
Since the failed coup on the 15th of July, the Turkish President has said several times that he would approve the reinstatement of the death penalty if Parliament voted for it. However, this is the first time he has called on Parliament to approve the reinstatement of the death penalty. It would happen after the 16th of April vote on a constitutional review that would increase the President’s powers.