July 18, 2016 / 5:50 AM / 3 years ago

Turkish revival of death penalty would be unacceptable, Austria says

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz leaves after a ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem May 16, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

VIENNA (Reuters) - It would be unacceptable for Turkey to reintroduce the death penalty in response to Friday’s failed coup, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said in an interview published on Monday before a meeting with his EU counterparts.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday there could be no delay in using capital punishment, which Turkey abolished in 2004, and the government would discuss the measure with opposition parties.

“The introduction of the death penalty would of course be absolutely unacceptable,” Kurz said in an interview with Austrian newspaper Kurier.

Turkey has ambitions to join the European Union, but a revival of the death penalty would freeze any discussion of membership.

EU foreign ministers will on Monday urge Erdogan to respect the law and human rights in dealing with defeated coup plotters, but they have limited leverage over their strategic neighbor.

“There must be no arbitrary purges, no criminal sanctions outside the framework of the rule of law and the justice system,” Kurz said. “Austria will push at the foreign ministers’ meeting ...to set very clear boundaries for Erdogan.”

Kurz said a deal with Turkey aimed at stemming the flow of migrants into Europe was no reason to back down. “The migration pact cannot be a reason to deviate from our fundamental values and clear position.”

Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by John Stonestreet

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