Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel issued the following statement this morning (17 April 2017) on the Turkish referendum on an amendment to the constitution:
The people of Turkey were called on to vote on an amendment to the constitution of the Republic of Turkey. The German Government notes the preliminary outcome of the referendum and respects the right of the Turkish people to decide on their own constitutional order.
The close outcome of the referendum shows how profoundly divided Turkish society is. This means great responsibility for the Turkish Government and for President Erdoğan personally. The German Government expects the Turkish Government to now seek respectful dialogue with all political and social forces in the country, following the tough referendum campaign.
The German Government would like to thank the OSCE referendum observation mission for its work in the run‑up to and during the referendum. We should not anticipate the OSCE election observers’ final report on Monday. The German Government regards this assessment as particularly important. Michael Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, already expressed doubts last week that fair conditions for the referendum would be upheld.
The German Government recalls that the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission expressed grave concerns both on the process and the content of this constitutional amendment. As a member of the Council of Europe and the OSCE, and as a candidate country for EU membership that is bound to the EU’s Copenhagen criteria on democracy and the protection of fundamental rights, the Turkish Government must now respond to these concerns. Political talks on this matter must take place as soon as possible with Turkey, both at bilateral level and between the European institutions and Turkey.