Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday felicitated with the people and government of Turkey on the successful conclusion of the country’s referendum on Monday.
Mr. Buhari congratulated Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for the “foresight and maturity of leading his people to the polls to decide on the future of leadership for the country that will further deepen peace and stability.”
According to a statement by his spokesperson, Mr. Buhari said he “believes the referendum showcases the democratic credentials of the country and reflects a willingness of the Turkish people to live together and jointly pursue a better future.”
Unlike the Nigerian leader, the European Union on Tuesday called on Turkish authorities to launch “transparent investigations” after international observers criticised the fairness of the voting process during the recent referendum.
The spokesperson for the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, said the call comes after Turkey rejected international observers’ criticism of the referendum on Sunday, in which over 51 per cent of voters supported granting greater powers to President Recep Erdogan.
The voters also turned Turkey’s parliamentary system into a presidential one.
Ms. Schinas said, “We … call on all actors to show restraint and on the authorities to launch transparent investigations into these alleged irregularities found by the observers.”
Also, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe said earlier that the Turkish referendum took place on “an unlevel playing field.”
The parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe (CoE) also noted that the referendum “fell short of CoE standards.”
MS. Shinas also noted that if Turkey were to reinstate the death penalty, which Mr. Erdogan has shown willingness for, the country’s prospects of joining the EU would be over.
“This is the reddest of all red lines.
“Moving from rhetoric to action on the issue of the death penalty would be a clear signal that Turkey does not want to be a member of the European family,” Ms. Schinas said.
Turkey’s main secularist opposition CHP said it will present its appeal for the annulment of Sunday’s referendum boosting the powers of Mr. Erdogan to the High Electoral Board (YSK) on Tuesday, the party said in a statement.
The CHP said Deputy Chairman Bulent Tezcan would present the appeal to the YSK at 2:30 p.m.
The CHP on Monday called for the annulment of the referendum and said it would take its challenge to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary, after a last-minute decision by the electoral board to allow unstamped ballots.
Responding to the results, Mr. Erdogan said Turkey had made a historic decision in backing an executive presidential system, adding that the “Yes” camp had secured 25 million referendum votes, 1.3 million ahead of “No”.
Mr. Erdogan, speaking from his official residence in Istanbul on Sunday, said the referendum had closed the door on Turkey’s long history of military intervention in government.
“Turkey for the first time in its history has decided with the will of the parliament and its people on such an important change.
“For the first time in the history of the Republic, we are changing our ruling system through civil politics. That is why it is very significant,” he said.
Mr. Erdogan also flagged that he would take up the issue of reinstating the death penalty with Turkey’s political leaders and may seek a referendum.
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