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1ST LEAD EU accession in the balance as Europe reacts to Turkey vote By dpa correspondents

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Brussels (dpa) - Accession talks between the European Union and Ankara must be suspended if reforms approved in the Turkish referendum are implemented without amendments, the European Parliament‘s expert on Turkey said. 

"It is clear that the country cannot join the EU with a constitution that doesn‘t respect the separation of powers and has no checks and balances," Turkey rapporteur Kati Piri said.  

"If the package is implemented unchanged, this will have to lead to the formal suspension of the EU accession talks. Continuing to talk about Turkey‘s integration into Europe under the current circumstances has become a farce," she said in a statement.

Reactions from elsewhere in Europe were more cautious.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should "seek a respectful dialogue with all of the country‘s political and societal groups," German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said in a statement.

In a separate statement to German newspaper Bild, Gabriel said that the prospect of EU accession was still "in the hands of Turkey."

"Decisions are not due for a while, accession at this time would not be possible in any case," he said, adding only a reintroduction of the death penalty would result in automatic suspension of the negotiations.

"We want to keep Turkey close to us and not push it into diplomatic isolation or even into the arms of Russia," Gabriel told Bild.

The French government said the values and duties Turkey has as a member of the Council of Europe "should compel its government to have a free and honest dialogue with all parts of political and social life," according to a statement released by the Elysee Palace.

It added that "the organization of a referendum on the death penalty would of course represent a departure from those values and duties" a reference to Erdogan‘s claim that a question over its reintroduction would be put to the Turkish people in due course.

Russian parliamentarian Konstantin Kosachev said in a Facebook post that Erdogan "is not just trying to strengthen his personal power, but also veer from the course of European integration."

"In any case, the initial reaction from Brussels is unambiguous: this Turkey has nothing to do with the EU," said Kosachev, who heads the Russian upper house of parliament‘s international affairs committee.


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