Buhari, Trump Congratulate Erdogan on Turkey’s Referendum

Buhari, Trump Congratulate Erdogan on Turkey’s Referendum

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while also felicitating with the people of Turkey on the successful conclusion of the country’s referendum on Monday.

Buhari’s congratulatory message was conveyed by his Special Adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement on Tuesday.

He praised the Turkish President for his foresight and maturity in leading his people to the polls to decide on the future of leadership for the country that will further deepen peace and stability.

President Buhari said he believes the referendum showcased the democratic credentials of Turkey and reflects a willingness of the Turkish people to live together and jointly pursue a better future.

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Similarly, American President, Donald Trump also called the Turkish President to congratulate him on his victory in Sunday’s referendum that gave him sweeping new powers.

The call from Donald Trump was pre-arranged and the focus was Syria – but the congratulations for President Erdogan’s victory means the US president joins leaders from Qatar, Guinea, Djibouti and the Palestinian militant movement Hamas to voice the opinion, while those in Europe have been far more cautious.

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Observers say the call will delight Erdogan supporters, who will see it as legitimising the president’s victory.

But it will dismay opponents, after Erdogan’s fiery tirades against the West and the damning verdict of international observers.

Also, the phone conversation between the two leaders, analysts say, further highlights the similarities between them on issues like democratic norms and press freedom – though the Turkish president has of course dealt with them in a far more extreme way.

But others say President Trump was perhaps aiming to win favour in Ankara, given that the two sides have fundamental disagreements over Syria.

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Syria is one of the issues straining relations between Washington and Ankara, but the two sides are also at loggerheads over Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish born, Pennsylvania-based cleric accused of orchestrating last year’s failed coup in Turkey.

Erdogan wants Gulen extradited but Washington insists any decision on returning him to Turkey from the US remains a judicial rather than a political one.