The European Union's senior foreign affairs representative, Javier Solana, has warned Turkey's foreign minister that it would be difficult, perhaps impossible, to bring Turkey into the Union if it maintains the death penalty. Mr Solana said that the EU was very disappointed with a Turkish court's decision to uphold the death sentence against Kurdish guerrilla leader Abdullah Ocalan.

However, it could be years before the sentence is carried out, if it ever is. Ocalan was found guilty in June of treason and of causing the deaths of thousands of people during the war between Kurdish separatists and the Turkish state. The sentence has yet to be ratified by the country's parliament and President. Ocalan's lawyers are expected to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights, which is unlikely to give a ruling for at least 18 months.