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European Concerns in Wake of Turkey’s Referendum - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Ankara, Brussels –Turkey’s referendum, which granted expansive new powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sparked a wave of mixed international reaction, as two main issues appeared on the president’s agenda: reinstating the death penalty and extending the state of emergency for another three months.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz made a telephone call on Monday to Erdogan, congratulating him on the outcome of the constitutional referendum.

The King expressed hope that the constitutional amendments would contribute to achieving greater stability and development, stressing that Riyadh looks forward to further cooperation with Turkey in its new political stage.

US President Donald Trump telephoned his Turkish counterpart to congratulate him on winning the referendum, according to Anadolu news agency.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Turkish leader should open talks with opponents and the European Union.

In a joint statement with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Merkel said: “There need to be talks about these issues as soon as possible with Turkey on a bilateral basis, as well as between Turkey and European institutions.”

Merkel added that Germany and the European Union would be following up on the consequences of the vote and called on Erdogan to act with “responsibility.”

In a separate interview, Gabriel stated that if Ankara were to bring back the death penalty, the move would be “synonymous with the end of the European dream” and mark the end of decades of negotiations to enter the EU.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s head of mission, Tana de Zulueta, said Monday that some of Erdogan’s opponents were subject to police pressure during the referendum and that freedom of expression was restricted.

For his part, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz deemed the result a “clear signal against the European Union”.