Germany urges Turkey to talk to opposition after referendum win

Indo Asian News Service

Berlin, April 17 (IANS) The German government on Monday urged Turkey to hold "respectful dialogue" with different political factions in the country after the narrow referendum win backing constitutional changes.

In a joint statement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the outcome of the vote had indicated a "deeply divided" Turkish society, Xinhua news agency reported.

Therefore, "the German government expects the Turkish government to look for a respectful dialogue with all political and social groups in the country", said the statement.

It also stressed the importance of political talks between Turkey and the European Union regarding the implementation of the constitutional changes.

During Sunday's vote, about 51.35 per cent backed the constitutional changes, compared to 48.65 per cent for the "no" side.

The constitutional reforms were set to grant more power to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The amendments to the constitution are likely to allow Erdogan to hold office for two more terms until 2029.

Many of the votes are coming from the Turks residing overseas in Germany, reportedly at 1.6 million.

Berlin has been critical of the referendum and somehow sees it as an undemocratic move. Some German states and cities have blocked campaigns on their soil before Sunday's vote, severely straining the ties between Ankara and Berlin.

--IANS

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