The “counter-coup” launched by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a concern to the European Union. The more than 6,000 soldiers arrested along with more than 750 judges, police officers in handcuffs, the images of rebels lying on the ground half naked and with their hands tied behind their backs, but above all the threat that Ankara can reintroduce the death penalty, 12 years after it was abolished, are alarming news for European institutions. So alarmed that they’ve put Turkey on notice over relations that up to now, if only for convenience, had been cozy.
“In the first hours after the failed coup, we have witnessed revolting scenes of arbitrary justice and revenge,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel. And in Brussels, foreign ministers gathered in the Belgian capital warned that no country with a death penalty can belong to the E.U.
For now, adds Federica Mogherini, the E.U. still considers Turkey a partner and regards what happened “with a friendly attitude,” but the issue of capital punishment is set in stone. In the future, underlines the representative for European foreign policy, “it might need a new strategic reflection” on relations between Brussels and Ankara. The statements led Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim to respond measuredly that the reinstatement of the death penalty is a “request of the people, an order by the citizens,” but it would be “wrong to rush to decide.”