Trump congratulates Erdogan for referendum win

  • Trump congratulates Erdogan for referendum win

Trump congratulates Erdogan for referendum win

An official White House press statement confirmed the Turkish reports: "President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to congratulate him on his recent referendum victory and to discuss the United States' action in response to the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons on April 4".

The European Commission has called on Turkey to launch a "transparent investigation" into allegations of irregularities during the referendum giving the president sweeping powers. But if unresolved, they will leave deep questions over the legitimacy of a vote which split the electorate down the middle, and whose polarising campaign drew criticism and concern from European allies.

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Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy chairman Bulent Tezcan will present the demand at 1130 GMT, the party said in a statement.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Tuesday rumours of irregularities in a referendum over the weekend were a vain effort to cast doubt on the result.

The Turkish opposition was particularly incensed by a decision by the YSK to allow voting papers without official stamps to be counted, which they said opened the way for fraud.

Turkey should "consider the next steps very carefully", an European Union spokesman said.

Meanwhile the Saudi Cabinet also congratulated Erdogan and the Turkish people on the successful referendum and said it hoped the vote would contribute to "more development and success across the country". "No" campaigners in the region said its observers were prevented from monitoring many ballot stations.

The Council of Europe - which also monitored the poll - said the vote "did not live up" its standards. The two largest opposition parties both challenged the referendum, saying it was deeply flawed.

In an address to legislators from his ruling party on Tuesday, Yildirim said the people had voted to switch from a parliamentary to a presidential system, adding: the "opposition should not speak after the people have spoken".

Last year, Obama said there were trends in Turkey that he was "troubled with", including a fierce crackdown on the press. The changes could keep him in power until 2029 or beyond, making him easily the most important figure in Turkish history since state founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk built a modern nation from the ashes of the Ottoman empire after World War One. Germany, home to several million Turks, said it was up to Erdogan himself to heal the rifts that the vote had exposed. Relations with Europe were strained during the referendum campaign when Germany and the Netherlands barred Turkish ministers from holding rallies.

The White House released a brief readout of the phone call between the two leaders in which they also discussed the recent U.S. airstrike on Syria.