Restoring death penalty in Turkey 'red line' in European Union bid

Posted March 20, 2017

The German minister defended Saturday the banning of rallies, aimed at winning votes from a Turkish diaspora that numbers as many as 1.4 million in Germany alone.

"Make not three, but five children", he said.

Gabriel said Erdogan was taking advantage of a sentiment many people of Turkish origin have in Germany that they are neither accepted nor welcomed, but failed to address why these European citizens of Turkish background may feel this way.

"What Hans and George say is not important for me", he said, using two common European names.

"That will be the best response to the injustices against you".

"You are the future of Europe".

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte fended off the challenge of Wilders to score an election victory hailed across Europe by governments facing a rising wave of nationalism. Ankara is supposed to readmit all irregular asylum seekers who reach Greek islands from Turkey, according to the readmission agreement signed last March with the EU.

Rotterdam's mayor had initially granted permission for a pro-Turkish protest to take place on Friday over the police's tactics at the weekend, but the organisers later called it off, a city council spokesman said.

Both countries have large Turkish populations which Erdogan is trying to court ahead of a referendum in April on the expansion of his presidential powers and the weakening of the Turkish parliament.

A day after accusing the European Union of starting a "crusade" against Islam by the ruling, he said the court should "ban the kippa ban too" - although in theory the Jewish skullcap should be included in the decision which covers all religious symbols. Turkey promised to stem the flow of Middle Eastern migrants entering Europe in exchange for billions in aid and accelerated visa-free travel for its citizens in the bloc.

The "deal" referred to by Mr. Soylu was struck nearly exactly a year ago with the EU.

But Turkish ministers and Erdogan have said they need to respond to popular demand for the restoration of capital punishment to deal with the ringleaders of the July 15 coup bid.

"Let us remind you that you can not play games in this region and ignore Turkey", he said.