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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Sunday, January 21, 2018

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Germany fumes as Turkey vows to reintroduce death penalty

EU slashes the billions of pounds in aid it gives to Turkey

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BERLIN, Germany - In a letter addressed to the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Commissioner Federica Mogherini, Germany’s foreign minister demanded the EU slashes the billions of pounds in aid it gives to Turkey.

Turkey, which is trying to become a member of the bloc, was accused by Sigmar Gabriel failing to adhere to European values/

Gabriel wrote in his letter that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan failed to adhere to European values after a failed coup, a controversial referendum and the possibility of reintroducing the death penalty.

He said, “Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s policy is in blatant contradiction to our European value system and requires a clear response.”

He further suggested in the letter, to reduce pre-accession aid money for Turkey, which amounts to 4.1 billion pounds between 2014 and 2016, and to only provide funds which promote democracy and the rule of law.

Gabriel wrote that this would ensure the cash “benefits Turkish civil society” and not the government.

He further noted that the European Investment Bank should not seek any new business deal with Turkey.

In recent months, Germany’s calls to stop the pre-accession funds from going to Turkey have increased.

Under EU law, any country negotiating its way into the bloc is given aid so the country can make political and economic reforms to prepare for the rights and obligations which come with EU membership.

This, reports noted, includes providing citizens with better opportunities and allowing for development of standards equal to those enjoyed in the EU.

However, in July 2016, following the failed coup in Turkey, the EU condemned Erdogan’s response when he declared a state of emergency.

Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn said the sacking, rounding up and jailing of educators, judges and journalists was “unacceptable.”

Erdogan however, hasn’t paid much attention to growing international anger against the situation in his country in the aftermath of the failed coup.

Erdogan has been blamed of doing very little to adjust his behaviour since last year and has since held a controversial referendum which turned the parliamentary system into a presidential one following accusations of state suppression and violence against those not wanting the change.

In the three months since the referendum gave him increased powers, Erdogan has frequently spoken about holding another vote on the return of the death penalty.

Amid protests against it, Erdogan has argued that death penalty is needed to punish the coup plotters and to restore order.

In response, leaders of all the major German parties, Horst Seehofer of the CSU, Julia Klöckner of CDU and Christian Lindner of FDP, have all recently called for pre-accession aid to Turkey to be halted.

So far, only a small amount of the total 4.1 billion pounds has been paid to Turkey.

Since the attempted coup, tensions between Berlin and Ankara have only increased, with Turkey imprisoning several Germans and Germany banning Turkish politicians from entering the country to rally supporters before the referendum earlier this year.

BNN

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