US hopes reforms will enhance Turkish democracy
US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said the US hopes the reforms Turkey endorsed through a popular referendum on Sunday will further enhance Turkey’s democratic process and human rights protection. Crowley said during a daily press briefing on Monday that the referendum was an opportunity for the people of Turkey to have a strong voice in the future direction of their vibrant democracy. “There was a very large turnout,” the spokesman said, underlining the importance of the will of the Turkish people. Asked if he disagrees with the claims of secularists that the changes will inhibit the judiciary’s ability to “oversee” the executive, Crowley said the approval of the changes was a choice for the Turkish people and that there was a very strong, decisive vote to move towards greater civilian oversight of these democratic institutions. “We respect that statement by the Turkish people. And we hope that the government will, again, use this mandate to deepen democratic processes in Turkey as well as guarantee human rights protections,” he said. Asked if the referendum will boost Turkey’s EU membership chances, Crowley said the US certainly encourages Turkey’s membership in the EU and that he thinks the administration has observed a favorable reaction in Europe to these developments.