January 4, 2016 / 6:46 PM / 3 years ago

Turkey says cannot support Saudi execution of Shi'ite cleric

Shi'ite protesters carry posters of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr during a demonstration in front of Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, January 3, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey cannot support the execution of a senior Shi’ite cleric by Saudi Arabia because Ankara opposes capital punishment, government spokesman Numan Kurtulmus said on Monday.

“We are against all instances of capital punishment especially when it is politically motivated... For us it is not possible to support capital punishment by any country,” Kurtulmus told a news conference.

He said Saturday’s execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was not conducive to peace in the region. “But Saudi Arabia and Iran are our friends and we don’t want them fighting because that’s the last thing this region needs,” Kurtulmus said.

Reporting by Dasha Afanasieva; Editing by Dominic Evans

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