Outcome of Turkey vote likely to further cool EU relations
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European leaders reacted with restraint and concern Monday to the narrow outcome of a referendum in Turkey that grants sweeping new powers to the nation’s president.
While relations between the European Union and Turkey have been deteriorating for months, the result of the Turkish vote will likely only widen the growing political and cultural distance between the 28-nation bloc and the EU candidate country.
Both Germany and France expressed concern about possible election irregularities and called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to engage in dialogue with the opposition after Sunday’s referendum’s showed how deeply the country is divided.
“The narrow result of the vote shows how deeply split the Turkish society is,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in a joint statement. “This implies a big responsibility for the Turkish government and President Erdogan personally.”
Several Turkish opposition groups claimed irregularities during the voting process and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said that the referendum fell short of international standards.
Merkel and Gabriel said that Turkey — as an OSCE member and EU candidate country — needs to consider these concerns.
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