Turkey says Catalan independence declaration 'wrong'
Turkey's EU Minister Omer Celik has said the Catalan Parliament’s decision to declare independence from Spain is "wrong", and Turkey will continue to support Spain's territorial integrity.
"Turkey will continue to support Spain's territorial integrity, constitution and political unity," he added.
The minister said the move would "serve nothing but mostly harm Catalans."
"What Catalonia has done is to create difficulties in a well-going system," he said.
Pointing to similar separatist movements across Europe, Celik added that they could lead to "a serious crisis for the future of Europe" which he said should be handled carefully.
In a written statement published earlier on Friday evening, Turkish Foreign Ministry said the move taken by Catalonia’s separatist-led parliament "was not a right step taken".
"We respect the territorial integrity and the constitution of Spain and the will of Spanish people," the statement said, adding the "unilateral" decision of the Catalan Parliament was not in line with Spain's constitution and laws, as well as the will of the Spanish people and the people living in the region.
The ministry added that it hoped the decision "which is unconstitutional and can lead to tension," would not be "insisted upon" and a solution could be found within the framework of democracy and the rule of law.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced Friday night that he dissolved the Catalan Parliament and called regional elections for Dec. 21.
"The state has enough measures to recover legal normality," said Rajoy in the speech, hours after the Catalan Parliament declared independence and the Spanish Senate passed a bill to enact Article 155, which gives Madrid control of Catalonia.
Other measures that Rajoy referred to include the dismissal of Catalan political leaders including the president, vice-president and ministers and the closure of Catalan embassies abroad, effective immediately.
Madrid also legally now has ultimate control of Catalan institutions, including the regional police force.
This is the first time in Spain’s history that Article 155 has been activated and Rajoy said it was a "sad day".
Meanwhile, in the so-called Republic of Catalonia, the streets remain full of separatists celebrating the newfound "independence" although some protesters have also taken to the streets against the unilateral declaration.
"There are times when it will be up to all of us to maintain this country," Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said following the declaration, calling on the masses to support Catalonia with "peace, civility and dignity".
Countries around the world have come out in support of Spain, including the United States and the European Union.