Trump calls Erdogan to congratulate him on contested referendum, Turkey says

The Washington Post reports: President Trump called to congratulate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday after a referendum greatly expanding his powers, according to Turkish officials, despite a more circumspect State Department response to Sunday’s vote, which international election observers declared unfair.

Erdogan’s office said that he and Trump also discussed the situation in Syria, including the April 4 chemical weapons attack on civilians in Idlib province, and that Trump thanked Erdogan for Turkey’s support.

“The two leaders agreed that Bashar al-Assad should be held accountable for the actions he has taken,” said a statement from Erdogan’s office, referring to Syria’s president.

The White House confirmed that the two leaders had spoken, but would not describe the call.

As described by a Turkish statement, Trump’s comments differed in tone from those of the State Department, which urged Turkey to respect the basic rights of its citizens and noted the election irregularities witnessed by monitors with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The United States is a member of the OSCE. [Continue reading…]

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