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Turkey opens door to new constitution with amendments approved

09-14-2010 08:52 BJT

ANKARA, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has opened the door to an entirely new constitution after Sunday's referendum approved amendments to the current constitution made in the coup-era.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday after the initial referendum results came out that the government would start working on a brand new constitution immediately.

Turkey's Higher Electoral Board announced Monday the unofficial counting results, which showed 57.88 percent voted for the amendment package while 42.12 percent voted against it, with a turnout rate of 73.7 percent.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul told the Italian La Repubblica newspaper Monday that a new era has begun for Turkey with the referendum endorsement.

"All the articles in the constitutional amendment package are about bringing Turkey's standards to the European level under Turkey's European Union membership process," he was quoted as saying.

The United States and the EU has welcomed the approval of the constitutional changes. EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele said Monday that Turkey should implement reforms and draft a new constitution that would bring its democracy more in line with European standards.

However, the impact of the changes on the ground will depend on their actual implementation and a number of laws will be needed, Fuele said in a statement, encouraging the Turkish government to show utmost transparency as well as a spirit of dialogue on the substance of this implementing legislation.

Any future constitutional changes should be prepared through the broadest possible consultation, involving all political parties and civil society in a timely manner and a spirit of dialogue and compromise, said the statement.

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