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Stressing that the President, who is also the leader of the governing AK party, has not actually won the referendum but lost it Van Baalen said:"When you fight an all out campaign for a yes vote backed by all means of the Turkish state and the AK Party, making it impossible for the No voters to campaign in the media and you get around 51% of the votes, this is a moral defeat. When international and independent observers conclude that there was mass scale manipulation of the vote count, the position of Erdogan is more than weak. He has split the Turkish nation."
Van Baleen, who is also President of the ALDE Party (LI cooperating organisation), further warned that the situaiton has to be monitored in terms of wether or not the electoral court orders a recount as demanded by the opposition and what kind of future actions will be undetaken by Erdogan and his party. "The European Union (EU) should support the forces of freedom within Turkey. Turkish EU membership is no longer on the table. However, Turkey should not be driven in the arms of Putin-Russia. This means we should not take irrevocable steps" he concluded.
Guy Verhofstadt MEP, leader of the ALDE Group in the European Parliament (LI full-member), echoed the concerns regarding Turkey's status as a candidate EU member state calling on the accession talks to be haulted. "The proposed constitutional changes do not only grant President Erdogan authoritarian powers, they also disrupt the democratic checks and balances in Turkey and the referendum on which they are based didn't meet the standards of the Council of Europe. A fair campaign has been prevented by the Turkish government who intimidated the "no"-side and even resorted to jailing dozens of journalists. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) confirms that both media and opposition parties have been boycotted by the Turkish government, thus precluding a level playing field between the "yes" and "no" sides... The only logical conclusion of this all is that the EU stops accession talks immediately and rethinks its relationship with Turkey" he said.
Very tight result in #turkish referendum. If Erdogan persists, EU should stop accession talks— Guy Verhofstadt (@GuyVerhofstadt) April 16, 2017
The referendum hands over to the President new executive powers as it paves the way for a Constitutional change allowing Turkey to transition from a Parliamentary to a Presidential Republic essentially eliminating all checks and balances on future governments.