We cannot let Turks in Germany vote in potential referendum on death penalty: Schulz

Germany cannot let Turkish expats vote for a potential referendum on reinstating capital punishment in Turkey, the chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) Martin Schulz has said.

“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 German Der Spiegel magazine.

“We cannot allow voting in Germany that contradicts our values and our constitution,” he added.

The chancellor candidate also said he was on the same page with Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who had previously stated that the move would be “synonymous with the end of [Turkey’s] European dream” and mark the end of decades of negotiations to enter the European Union.

It is in Turkey’s “own interest” not to distance itself further from Europe, Gabriel said.

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.

There have been frequent calls for capital punishment to be reinstated in Turkey, following its abolition in 2004 as part of reforms aimed at securing EU membership, particularly after the failed July 2016 coup attempt.

Since the attempted takeover, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has repeatedly voiced his willingness to approve the restoration if parliament approves it. 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.

Right after his victory in the April 16 referendum on constitutional amendments, Erdoğan said he would immediately discuss the issue with the prime minister and the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).