Berlin won’t allow expat vote in Germany on reinstating death penalty in Turkey

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A polling clerk is working at a polling station in Munich, southern Germany, on March 27, 2017. Turkish expatriates in Germany and five other European countries started casting their ballots on March 27 in a controversial referendum that could vastly boost President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's powers. / AFP PHOTO / Christof STACHE

Germany said on Friday it would not allow Turks in its territory to vote in any Turkish referendum on the reintroduction of the death penalty, a measure proposed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following a failed coup on July 15, 2016.

“It is politically not imaginable that we would approve such a vote in Germany on a measure that goes against our Basic Law and European values,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular news conference, referring to Germany’s constitution.

Embassies and consulates enjoy certain privileges and immunities under the 1961 Vienna Convention, and Turkey would very likely want to hold voting on their premises to reach some 1.5 million expatriate Turkish voters.

But Seibert said: “If another state wants to hold elections or votes in its consulates here in Germany, then this is subject to [German] authorization.”

Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 as part of a drive for European Union membership. Erdoğan has said he would approve its reinstatement if Parliament submits such a proposal or if the measure is backed in a referendum.

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