EU says it fully stands behind the Turkish government

Following a coup attempt in Turkey, European Union member states on Saturday said they were fully behind the "democratically elected government" of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan 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," European Council President Donald Tusk said in closing remarks of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Mongolia.

"The question is what Turkey comes out of this crisis, how Turkey will deal with it will be crucial, also for relations with the EU. Our hope is to keep Turkey as a key partner," Tusk said. 

"The EU fully supports the democratically elected government, the institutions of the country and the rule of law," Tusk said. 

The failed coup left at least 60 people dead overnight, as authorities conducted widespread arrests among the military on Saturday.

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, a UN-related international tribunal rejected China's claim to a large swathe of the South China Sea, upholding a complaint brought by the Philippines. The contested waters are home to a key shipping lane and are thought to be rich in mineral and marine resources.

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 Saturday he hopes the decision by the court can create new momentum in resolution of territorial disputes in the South China Sea, pointing to his talks with Chinese leaders earlier this week 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.

Last update: Sat, 16/07/2016 - 15:10

More from Europe

French presidential hopeful to meet Merkel, outline plans for Europe

French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon is set to meet German Chancellor Merkel in Berlin on...

Left-winger and former premier top French primary

Benoit Hamon and Manuel Valls were out in front in France's nationwide primary on Sunday to choose who will be the...

Romanian president joins thousands in anti-government rally

Thousands of Romanians were joined by President Klaus Iohannis in a street protest in Bucharest on Sunday against...

Suspected accomplice detained in Germany in foiled Vienna attack

A 21-year-old man and his wife have been arrested in their home in the western German city of Neuss on suspicion of...

May vows to press Trump on "unacceptable" remarks in Friday meeting

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday vowed to confront US President Donald Trump about any "unacceptable"...