ANKARA, Turkey – German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday, February 2, said she had raised concerns over freedom of expression in Turkey in bilateral talks in Ankara with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“I emphasised from my side that in this far-reaching change the separation of powers and freedom of expression must be ensured,” Merkel said, referring to Erdogan’s plan for constitutional change to increase his powers that is set to be put to a referendum in April.
Merkel added she had also passed on concerns over press freedom and the accreditation of German journalists in Turkey, several of whom have not received approval to work in 2017.
She said the referendum on constitutional change could be monitored by a delegation from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) “so that what the people want is guaranteed”.
Merkel, who was set to meet later with representatives of two opposition parties, added: “Opposition belongs to a democratic state.”
Erdogan responded that a separation of powers would remain in place under the new constitution, with other centres of power along with the presidency.
“The legislative is still there. So is the executive and the judiciary. Their dissolution… is out of the question,” said the Turkish president. – Rappler.com
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