20:16 GMT +323 January 2020
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    Turkey Votes for Presidential System of Government in National Referendum (72)

    Turkey’s EU membership is no longer on the bloc's immediate agenda after the the outcome of the country's constitutional referendum had laid down the framework for the possible reinstatement of capital punishment, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said Tuesday.

    ROME (Sputnik) – On Sunday, Turkey held a referendum on the transition from a parliamentary to presidential system of governance. Preliminary results of the vote indicate a victory for supporters of the governance shift. Once the results are confirmed, the nation’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with his newly bestowed powers, will be able to reinstate the death penalty, which was outlawed in 2004 amid Turkey's attempts to have closer ties with the European Union. In late February, Erdogan said Ankara may seek to reintroduce capital punishment in the light of last year's failed coup attempt.

    "The issue of Turkey’s accession to the European Union is ‘not on table.’ In any case the possible solutions, related to the death penalty reintroduction may delay it even further," Alfano told Il Corriere della Sera newspaper.

    On Monday, a number of senior EU officials, including German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, Belgium's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, expressed the opinion that the reinstatement of the death penalty would diminish Turkey’s prospects of joining the bloc.

    Turkey signed an association agreement with the then-European Community in 1963, and submitted a membership application in 1987. Talks about Ankara's membership of the European Union began in 2005, but have been repeatedly suspended due to the Cyprus dispute and Turkey's record of denying press freedom, among other obstacles.

    In March 2016, Brussels and Ankara agreed on a deal, under which Turkey pledged to take back all undocumented migrants that had arrived to the European Union through the state’s territory. In return, the bloc pledged to accelerate the Turkish EU accession bid and introduce a visa-free regime, as well as provide financial aid to Turkey to cover the costs of migrant reception.

    Turkey Votes for Presidential System of Government in National Referendum (72)


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    death penalty, European Union, Angelino Alfano, Italy, Turkey
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