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Spain backs Turkish 'Constitutional reforms' decisions, but calls for 'consensus' to avoid 'division in society'
thinkSPAIN , Tuesday, April 18, 2017

SPAIN has called for Turkey to 'carry out extensive Constitutional reforms' with 'the greatest possible consensus' following its controversial referendum, in order to 'avoid any type of division in Turkish society'.

Minister for foreign affairs in Spain, Alfonso Dastis, made this appeal to Turkey during a press conference following a meeting with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodríguez, who was on an official tour of the Mediterranean country.

The referendum was held to vote on a series of Constitutional changes which included the delegation of all executive power to the figure of Head of State – currently president Recep Tayyip Erdogan (pictured) – and the 'yes' vote won by 51.4%.

A margin equally as narrow as that of the Brexit referendum, the Turkish vote effectively means Erdogan will be able to remain in power until at least 2029, and possibly as long as 2034.

Dastis defended Erdogan's reforms on the condition Turkey 'did not forget its commitments to the Council of Europe', which are inviolable terms of its candidature to join the European Union.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel, among other member State leaders, say the referendum result effectively destroys any possibility of Turkey's entering the bloc.

Turkey has been trying to join for over 30 years and has been actively negotiating since 2005, but of more than 30 requirements for membership, has never managed to comply with more than one or two at the most.

Erdogan's referendum result, which still has to be approved by Turkish Parliament, means his ratification as Head of State would give him the power to reintroduce the death penalty, something he says he is committed to doing.

This one action alone would forever bar Turkey from entering the EU, and the Organisation for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) considers the referendum did not comply with democratic standards, in particular concerning 'lack of impartiality'.

The Turkish opposition has denounced 'illegalities' in the vote recount.

Members of Spain's opposition have criticised the PP-led right-wing government for not condemning the referendum and its contents outright, but Dastis says the post-vote process should be 'resolved using national Constitutional mechanisms' and is not for Spain to comment on.

Meanwhile, US president Donald Trump has congratulated Erdogan on winning his referendum.

Whatever happens, it seems the referendum and its results is a huge backward step in Turkey's EU candidature and that the country has buried its chances of ever becoming a member.



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