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Continued EU reaction to Turkish coup

Media outlets, especially in Cyprus, Germany and Greece, continue to offer a wide coverage of the recent Turkish failed ‘coup d’etat’, still providing many EU reactions to that event, which is also both linked to migration and Turkey’s EU adhesion issues.

In an interview granted to Hamburger Abendblatt, Digital Commissioner Günther Oettinger condemns the coup, stressing that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been “legitimately” elected and that the Turkish government is backed by Europe. Nevertheless, the government should not use the coup to “create precedents” that do not respect the rule of law and democracy, he cautions. Commissioner Oettinger further criticises Mr Erdoğan’s statements that the coup was a gift of God for being “macabre,” and condemns the early retirement of thousands of judges and discussions about the reintroduction of the death penalty.Commissioner Günther Oettinger also stated that the Turks would probably not enjoy visa-free travel to the EU before the end of the year as a result of the events, report the Belgian, Bulgarian, Czech and Slovakian press, among others.

EC Chief Spokesperson Margaritis Schinas underlined yesterday that the EU and death penalty do not go hand in hand, sending a new warning to the Turkish government, note many media, such as L’Echo and Eleftheros Typos. This opinion is shared by European Parliament President Martin Schulz and Enlargement Negotiations Commissioner Johannes Hahn, reports ERT1. Commissioner Hahn’s point of view is further expressed in the Austrian press, calling the reintroduction of the death penalty a “knock-out criteria” for EU accession.

Along the same lines, Belgian media report that, according to Commissioner Oettinger, an agreement about the visa waiver for Turks will not be reached before the end of the year. Le Monde recalls some recent statements by HRVP Federica Mogherini, stressing that legitimate institutions and the rule of law have to be protected in Turkey. TG La7 notes that Berlin expressed its opposition to the death penalty and Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Paolo Gentiloni spoke out against a revenge reaction against Turkey. reports that Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern said the reinstatement of the death penalty would rule out the country’s chances of becoming a EU member.

Le Soir posts MEP Guy Verhofstadt’s tweet in which he describes death penalty as an absolute red line while De Standaard says the Turks are disgruntled by the European reaction. Cypriot media report that Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu argued on Twitter that Commissioner Hahn “is far from thoroughly comprehending what is going in on Turkey”. He added that “Turkey will never compromise on human rights, rule of law and democracy,” and stated that “no one, including Hahn, can prejudge the ongoing legal process regarding the bloody coup attempt in Turkey”.

Among today’s commentaries, Thomas Schmid stresses in Die Welt that the Union is being helpless regarding the fact that Mr Erdoğan overcame the separation of powers and claims the “pure” power. He describes the Turkish President’s governance as a “mobocracy.” This and the intention of reintroducing the death penalty “is not in alignment with the EU,” Mr Schmid underlines.

In another Die Welt item, Andre Tauber and Flora Wisdorff consider that the events in Turkey, since the failed coup, have a “radical” impact on the negotiations for EU visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens. The latter is “hardly thinkable” now and the refugee deal in “acute risk,” they further warn. Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph’s Con Coughlin points out that relations between Ankara and other western powers have descended to such a level that the US is calling for its NATO membership to be withdrawn.


copyright: EuropeanUnion2016

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