Brende fears increased polarization in Turkey

Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende World Economic ForumMinister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende fears that the outcome of the referendum in Turkey could lead to further polarization in the country.

– With such a even result that the provisional count shows, it is very important that one now avoids further polarization in the Turkish society, The Minister said in a comment.

According to the unofficial results of the referendum, 51.41 percent voted yes to the changes to the constitution, which means that 48.59 percent voted no.

– We respect the Turkish people’s right to determine their own constitution, but with such an even result it is also crucial that President Erdogan initiates talks with the opposition and civil society about the way forward for Turkey, Brende says.

– As president, Erdogan has a major responsibility for the initiation of a political process that builds bridges instead of dividing the Turkish society even more, he stressed.

Brende names the constitutional changes, which now has support in Turkey, for very far-reaching.

– It is therefore essential that the Turkish authorities must try to find the broadest possible national consensus in the follow-up and implementation, which also takes into account the international principles of freedom of expression and the rule of law which Turkey has ratified, and to pay heed the comments on the constitutional changes that the Council of Europe has made, he said.

The opposition in Turkey accuses the regime of electoral fraud, and Brende also awaits confirmation on the validity of the referendum.

– It will be up to international observers from the OSCE / ODIHR and the Council of Europe to consider how the referendum was conducted and whether the conditions for a fair vote were in place, he said.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today