Friends of Turkey statement on outcome of constitutional referendum

Press Release

Taking note of the results of the constitutional referendum held in Turkey on April 16, Marietje Schaake, together with the Friends of Turkey group in the European Parliament issued the following statement:

"Turkey emerges from the referendum even more divided. The outcome reveals that despite contested circumstances and a lack of open and plural debate during the campaign, almost half of the Turkish people voted against the proposed constitutional changes. As noted by OSCE/ODIHR's observation mission, the legal framework reminded inadequate for the holding of a genuinely democratic referendum.

"We are equally concerned about allegations of irregularities during the vote, as well as the last-minute decision by Turkey's electoral board to accept unstamped ballots. We therefore call for a fair and transparent investigation into cases of alleged electoral wrongdoings."

"We also share the concerns expressed by the Venice Commission about the lack of the necessary checks and balances needed to ensure the separation of powers. The centralization of power through an executive presidency will deeply impact EU-Turkey relations."

"The practical implementation of the reforms can result in a breach of the Copenhagen Criteria, which will consequently move Turkey away from its path towards EU integration. We therefore call on the European Commission and the Council to meet with the Turkish government as soon as possible and share these concerns underlying European Union's commitments: respect for the rule of law, separation of powers, human rights and fundamental freedoms."