Donald Trump CONGRATULATES Erdogan on Turkey referendum giving him sweeping powers

According to the White House the billionaire offered his praise just hours after his Turkish counterpart narrowly claimed a victory in a vote which has been slammed by critics for being a nail in the coffin of democracy. 

It grants President Erdoğan sweeping new powers, reshaping the country’s system of government by replacing the current parliamentary system with a presidential one and abolishing the role of the prime minister. 

International observers noted in a preliminary report the vote was held in an environment where “fundamental freedoms essential to a genuinely democratic process were curtailed”.

Donald Trump’s message was in stark contrast to the one issued by the State Department on Monday, which urged President Erdoğan to respect the rights of Turkish citizens, and notes the “irregularities on voting day and an uneven playing field during the difficult campaign period”.

A readout of the call issued by the White House, which matches the Turkish state-run news agency, revealed the two leaders discussed the US’ response to the chemical attack on Syria, and both agreed on “the importance of holding Syrian president Bashar al-Assad accountable”.

The White House said the pair also agreed on the “the need to cooperate against all groups that use terrorism to achieve their ends”.

And when press secretary Sean Spicer was asked for a response during the daily White House briefing, his comments contrasted Mr Trump’s tone, saying he would withhold a reaction until the final report is published. 

It has been widely viewed as Mr Erdoğan consolidating his power following a tumultuous couple of months, with the vote possibly seeing him cling on to power until 2029. 

He survived an attempted coup in July, and following the failed putsch launched a crackdown on suspending or firing nearly 120,000 people, mostly in the public sector including state officials and teachers, in a bid to “cleanse all state institutions”.

A further 47,000 people were detained on coup-related charges. 

The latest move by the Turkish leader has also been viewed as a step away from the country’s efforts to join the EU. 

Ankara attempted to use the migrant crisis as a bargaining chip to try and speed up the process of joining the bloc in exchange for accepting migrants and refugees. 

But the vote is seen as an end to tentative steps being made, with Austrian chancellor, Christian Kern, saying: “With what happened yesterday, (Turkey’s) membership prospects are buried, in practical terms.

“We are entering a new era”.

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Daily Express :: World Feed

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