Death penalty would end Turkey EU accession, says EC President Juncker

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker expressed doubts on a possible future EU membership for Turkey, saying to German newspaper Bild am Sonntag on Sunday that the accession process “will not fail due to a lack of willingness on the part of EU members but rather due to Turkey not wanting to introduce European standards.”

Juncker warned Turkey that reinstating the death penalty would automatically put an end to the accession process. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to bring back the death penalty if the Yes side prevailed in the 16 April referendum.

“I believe, God willing, that after the April 16 vote, the parliament will do the necessary thing concerning your demands for capital punishment. As for me, I will approve it without any hesitation,” Erdogan said on a Saturday rally.

The Turkish president also threatened to rip up the migration deal brokered between the EU and Turkey. Juncker expressed confidence that the accord, to which Turkey agreed to stop migrant flows into the EU in return for financial aid of up to 6 billion euros and visa-free travel for Turkish citizens in the EU.

“Turkey will not terminate this agreement, even if Erdogan has repeatedly threatened me with this,” Juncker said.

In relation to recent weeks conflict over Turkey’s referendum campaigning in Germany and the Netherlands, President Erdogan compared Dutch and German authorities to Nazis after their refusal to allow Turkish ministers to hold rallies ahead of the April referendum.

The European Commission President called the comparisons “unacceptable” and “a trivialisation of National Socialists and fascists of every colour.” Juncker stressed that millions of Turks are living in Europe and are well-integrated and contributors to European prosperity.

“Not all Turks are little Erdogans,” Juncker told Bild am Sonntag.