16 July 2016
The European Union said on Saturday that it was fully “behind the democratically elected government of Turkish President Recep Erdogan’’ following a failed coup attempt in the country.
European Council President, Donald Tusk, made this known in his closing remarks at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Mongolia, and called for a swift return to Turkey’s constitutional order.
“The tension in and challenges for Turkey cannot be solved with guns.
“A military coup has no place in modern Turkey.
“The question is when Turkey comes out of this crisis, how will it deal with the crisis? It will be crucial.
“Also for relations with the EU, the hope is to keep Turkey as a key partner,’’ Tusk said.
He added that the EU fully supported the democratically elected government, the institutions of the country and the rule of law.
The Friday’s failed coup in Turkey left no fewer than 104 people dead as authorities conducted widespread arrests among the military.
The two-day ASEM summit has also been overshadowed by the terror attack in Nice, France, and a dispute over China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.
On Tuesday, UN-related international tribunal rejected China’s claim to a large swathe of the South China Sea, upholding a complaint brought by the Philippines.
Report says the contested waters are home to a key shipping lane, and are thought to be rich in mineral and marine resources.
However, Beijing dismissed the ruling as “null and void.’’
Apart from China and the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have overlapping claims to the region.
Tusk said that he hoped the decision by the court could create new momentum in resolution of territorial disputes in the South China Sea, pointing to his talks with Chinese leaders earlier in Beijing.
“It is still not easy to agree with our Chinese partners on that issue; our talks were difficult and tough, but also promising.
“The EU will continue to speak out in support and upholding international law, especially the law of the sea,’’ Tusk said.
ASEM was established in 1996 to deepen relations between Asia and Europe.
Following the conclusion of the summit, ASEM members released the Ulanbaatar Declaration pledging to broaden political dialogue, improve economic cooperation and increase socio-cultural exchanges between Asia and Europe.