Merkel urges Ankara to seek ‘respectful dialogue’ after referendum

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Monday called on Turkey to search for respectful dialogue with the political forces in the country in the wake of the recent referendum on constitutional amendments.

According to the preliminary results of the referendum held in Turkey on Sunday, 51.3 percent of the votes supported the proposed expansion of presidential powers over the judicial and the legislative.

“The tight outcome of the vote shows how deep is the Turkish society divided. This means a lot of responsibility for the Turkish leadership and personally for President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan. The Government [of Germany] expects that now after the tough pre-referendum campaign the Turkish authorities will look for a respectful dialogue with all political and social forces of the country,” the joint statement of Merkel and Gabriel read, adding that Germany accepts the results of the referendum and respects the right of the Turkish citizens to decide their future on their own.

The statement stressed the importance of the political dialogue between Turkey and the European Union regarding the outcome of the vote and the implementation of the reform.

The amendments to the constitution proposed at the Sunday’s referendum include allowing the president to stay the head of the political party he represents, which is not permitted under current legislature. The amendments also allow Erdogan to hold the office for two more terms until 2029.