Respect people's democratic choice, world leaders say

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
Published 18.04.2017 01:01

After Sunday's victory for the "yes" campaigners on the proposed constitutional amendments, politicians from various countries around the world have issued messages about the results.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she respects the right of the Turkish people to make decisions on their country's constitution and called for political dialogue to address European concerns over the transition to a presidential system in Turkey. Merkel said the German government had noted the preliminary results of the constitutional referendum on Sunday, which showed a "yes" win with 51.41 percent votes and "no" with 48.59 percent of the popular vote.

"The German federal government respects the right of Turkish citizens to decide on their own constitutional order," she added in the issued statement.

Germany's foreign minister said the EU should draft a new strategy and look for new formats of negotiations with Turkey. Sigmar Gabriel spoke on Monday in Tirana before meeting with senior Albanian officials. Gabriel said that even though many EU member countries may be "rigorous [in their stand on Turkey] due to their domestic policies," Brussels should intensively work to find the channels of dialogue on "how to have an impact so that Turkey remains a democratic country."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday that the results of Sunday's referendum should be respected. "We believe that everyone should respect the will of the Turkish people," Peskov told reporters, according to Russian news agency TASS.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev was the first leader to congratulate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a telephone call on Sunday, saying that the result demonstrated "the Turkish people's great support" for Erdoğan's policy.

In a letter addressed to Erdoğan after the phone call, Aliyev said the outcome would raise Turkey's status on the global stage.

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also congratulated Erdoğan, Turkish presidential sources said. According to diplomatic sources, leaders from Hungary, Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Kenya offered congratulations to Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu over the phone.

The president and prime minister of Pakistan said the outcome reflected the desire of the Turkish people for a strong Turkey. They also voiced hope that the new path would help consolidate gains made in Turkey in the past 15 years for stability and prosperity and pave the way for continued accelerated progress of the Turkish people in the future.

Cyprus government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides told the Associated Press (AP)Monday that Cyprus hopes Turkey's stance will move the peace talks forward toward the stated goal of reunifying the island as a federation.

Vice president of Iraq, Osama al-Nujaifi, also sent a message to congratulate Erdoğan saying, "Mr. President, I am glad to congratulate you and the friendly Turkish nation on the referendum aimed at constitutional change," he said.

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