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Russia backs Turkish referendum vote to boost Erdogan's power

Europe
17.04.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Moscow (dpa) - Russia expressed support on Monday for the result of a Turkish referendum strengthening the authority of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"We believe that everyone should respect the expression of the will of the Turkish people," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in comments carried by state news agency TASS.

Russia and Turkey have been rebuilding relations in recent months after a severe falling out in 2015, when a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian warplane on the Turkish-Syrian border.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been in power for more than a decade, spoke with Erdogan by phone last week about the Syrian conflict. Moscow and Ankara have supported opposing sides in Syria, but have recently been trying to uphold a ceasefire.

A senior Russian parliamentarian, however, warned that Erdogan could face rising domestic resistance as the referendum passed with a very close margin.

Erdogan will have to "overcome resistance among rather influential opponents who have already attempted a coup," said Konstantin Kosachev, who heads the Russian upper house of parliament‘s international affairs committee.

"The fact that Erdogan is considering restoring the death penalty attests to the seriousness of his intentions," Kosachev said in a post on his Facebook page.

Meanwhile, the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled his former Soviet republic for more than two decades, congratulated Erdogan on the vote to change the Turkish constitution.

"The people of Turkey supported the efforts of the current government to ensure economic growth and political stability," Lukashenko said in a statement on his website.

 

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