Vienna, April 17 (IANS) Austria on Monday called on the European Union (EU) to end membership negotiations with Turkey in the wake of a referendum result on constitutional reform that would afford greater powers to the country's President.
Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said the outcome of Sunday's referendum went against EU principles, Efe news reported.
On Sunday, Turkey went to the polls in a referendum on introducing an 18-point overhaul of the constitution that involves scrapping the office of Prime Minister and handing most executive power over to the President.
About 55 million Turks were eligible to vote in the referendum to establish a presidential system with wide-ranging executive powers instead of the current parliamentary model.
Speaking to Austria's public radio, ORF, Kurz said the "Yes" vote win was "a clear signal against the European Union".
While he recognised that almost half the population voted "No", he said the narrow 51.4 per cent win for the controversial constitutional reform meant that Turkey continued to move away from the principles of the rule of law and democracy.
The head of Austrian diplomacy said he hoped for a response from the EU and a change in the stance of members who defended Ankara's accession process.
Turkey could not become a member of the EU, he said.
He added that after Sunday's referendum result, the work of NGOs and political opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would not be easy.
He also expressed his support for and solidarity with the citizens who voted against the reforms.
"We must end EU accession negotiations and instead work on a neighbourhood policy agreement with Turkey," Kurz tweeted.