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Merkel urges ‘respectful dialogue’ in Turkey after referendum

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People hold placards reading “Submission” as they gather to protest against the Turkish President on April 16, 2017 in Istanbul after the results of a nationwide referendum that will determine Turkey’s future destiny. Recep Tayyip Erdogan on April 16, 2017 hailed Turkey for making a “historic decision” as he claimed victory in the referendum on a new constitution expanding his powers. The “Yes” campaign to give Turkish President expanded powers won with 51.3 percent of the vote a tightly-contested referendum although the “No” camp had closed the gap, according to initial results. But Turkey’s two main opposition parties said they would challenge the results. PHOTO: GURCAN OZTURK / AFP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday urged Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to seek “respectful dialogue” within the country after his narrow win in a referendum extending his powers.

“The (German) government expects that the Turkish government will now seek respectful dialogue with all political and social forces in the country, after this tough election campaign,” Merkel said in a statement issued jointly with Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

The ‘Yes’ camp won with 51.41 percent in Sunday’s vote on giving Erdogan sweeping new powers, according to near-complete results, but angry opposition groups have cried foul and demanded a recount.

Merkel said Germany “respected the right of Turks to decide on their constitution”, but added that “the close result shows the extent to which Turkish society is deeply divided”.

During the referendum campaign, Erdogan lashed out at Germany and the Netherlands, accusing them of acting like the Nazis when they barred rallies for the ‘Yes’ camp.

Merkel called for political discussions with Ankara “as quickly as possible”.

International observers from the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are due to give their preliminary findings on the referendum later Monday.


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