GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer has expressed disappointment and serious concern over the Turkish referendum result: 

“Erdogan has abused Turkish democracy by winning a majority of the electorate in a referendum to change the constitution for personal benefit. His strategy was to insult journalists, Kurds, the opposition, dissenters and even EU countries and to declare them enemies. This made him look like a strong man and close ranks behind him.”

“We are concerned about reports that the tight result in favour of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) was manipulated,” Zimmer added. 

“This referendum took place under unfair conditions: the governing AKP abused the state of emergency to block, threaten and ban opponents of the presidential system from the media. The head of the OSCE election observation mission in Turkey confirmed the considerable obstacles placed against the ‘No’ camp.”  

“Erdogan sowed division in Turkish society. He must now bring the country and all its population together by releasing imprisoned members of the opposition- as well as journalists and activists – give back jobs to the thousands of civil servants and employees suspended or dismissed during the last months and to immediately lift the state of emergency,” Zimmer urged.  

“If Erdogan continues to oppress large segments of Turkish society with his newly-acquired powers dark times lie ahead. Reintroducing the death penalty will move Turkey farther away from the EU and its values,” the German MEP affirmed. 

“Under the backdrop of the refugee and humanitarian crisis, EU leaders acquiesced to insults and blackmail from Erdogan in order not the jeopardise the EU-Turkey deal. The EU has not done any favours to itself nor to democracy in Turkey as the referendum result clearly shows.”

“It is high time for the EU to realise the costs of this approach and free itself from Erdogan's dependence,” Zimmer concluded.  

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