"The close outcome of the referendum shows how profoundly divided Turkish society is," Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Gabriel wrote in a joint statement on the referendum in Turkey. The German Government respects the right of the Turkish people to decide on their own constitutional order.
The close outcome of the referendum means "great responsibility for the Turkish government and for President Erdoğan personally," Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel declared in their statement on Monday.
A total of 51.4 percent of those who took part in the constitutional referendum on introducing a presidential system in Turkey voted "yes". A total of 48.6 percent of voters were against making the necessary amendments to the Turkish constitution. Turnout was 84 percent. The Turkish Electoral Commission announced these figures as the preliminary outcome of the referendum.
Respectful dialogue important
The German Government "expects the Turkish Government to now seek respectful dialogue with all political and social forces in the country, following a tough referendum campaign."
Merkel and Gabriel thanked the OSCE referendum observation mission for its work in the run-up to and during the referendum. They did not wish to anticipate the OSCE election observers’ final report. "The German Government regards this assessment as particularly important," they both emphasised.
Michael Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, had already expressed doubts last week that fair conditions for the referendum would be upheld.
Turkish Government must respond to concerns raised by Council of Europe
"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," the Chancellor and Foreign Minister wrote in their statement.
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," Merkel and Gabriel concluded.