EU Urges Turkey Not to Execute Ocalan

STRASBOURG–France (Reuters)–The European Union urged Turkey on Wednesday not to carry out a death sentence on Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan–saying that to do so would hinder its membership ambitions.

"It would be a regrettable turn in the Turkish politics were the death sentence of…Ocalan–the Kurdish leader–implemented," Finnish Foreign Minister Tarja Halonen told the European Parliament.

"Turkey has expressed her desire to join the European Union. The non-application of capital punishment forms part of the common values of the European Union," she added.

She was speaking on behalf of the Finnish EU presidency–which runs until the end of this year.

She said she hoped the Turkish parliament would not confirm the death sentence and that Turkey would continue a policy under which it has not carried out any death sentence since 1984.

Turkey has been excluded from the EU’s eastwards expansion plan on account of what the EU sees as a poor human rights record and its attitude toward minorities.

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