Given the close results of the April 16 referendum in Turkey, the only possible path to national consensus is compliance with basic democratic norms and respect for the commitments arising from Turkey’s membership of international organisations, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said on April 18.
In the Sunday vote, there was a 51.4 per cent majority in favour of giving Turkey’s president sweeping powers. The narrow win by the Erdogan camp has been followed by concern among international observers that the Turkish voting process was not fair, while European leaders have expressed concern about the divisiveness of the vote in Turkey.
Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said that the country took into account the preliminary findings of the OSCE/ODIHR observer mission on the referendum in Turkey and was awaiting its final report.
The Foreign Ministry voiced confidence that following the referendum, “we will be able to focus on the development of bilateral relations with Turkey, based on the principles of equality, respect for the interests of both sides, neighbourliness and mutual trust”.
In Bulgaria’s March 2017 parliamentary elections, there were tensions between Sofia and Ankara over numerous indications that Turkey was seeking to intervene on the side of a minority party that, in the end, won no seats in the Bulgarian National Assembly.
Following the April 16 vote in Turkey, the European Commission issued no word of congratulations to Erdogan over the outcome.
In a joint statement, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and European Neighbourhood Police and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said: “We take note of the reported results of the referendum in Turkey on the amendments to the constitution, adopted by the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 21 January 2017.
“We are awaiting the assessment of the OSCE/ODIHR International Observation Mission, also with regard to alleged irregularities.”
The EC statement said that the constitutional amendments, and especially their practical implementation, will be assessed in light of Turkey’s obligations as a European Union candidate country and as a member of the Council of Europe.
“We encourage Turkey to address the Council of Europe’s concerns and recommendations, including with regards to the State of Emergency. In view of the close referendum result and the far-reaching implications of the constitutional amendments, we also call on the Turkish authorities to seek the broadest possible national consensus in their implementation,” the joint statement said.