See Shocking Congratulatory Messege – Trump Sent To Erdogan Over Turkey Poll

Donald Trump called Turkish President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan to congratulate
him on winning a referendum granting
him sweeping new powers that exposed
bitter divisions in the country.

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The White House said they also discussed
a US missile strike in Syria and the fight
against the Islamic State group.
Trump’s congratulations on Monday
were in contrast with EU leaders who
have been reserved in their reaction to
the narrow victory and even his own
State Department, which earlier noted
concerns expressed by international
observers over the “uneven playing
field”.
Returning in triumph to his presidential
palace in Ankara, Erdogan angrily
rejected the criticism, telling the
monitors: “Know your place.”

The referendum was seen as crucial not
just for shaping Turkey’s political system
but also the future strategic direction of
a nation that has been a NATO member
since 1952 and a European Union hopeful
for half a century.

Showing no sign of pulling his punches,
Erdogan said Turkey could hold further
referendums on its EU bid and re-
introducing the death penalty.
The “Yes” camp won 51.41 percent in
Sunday’s referendum, according to
complete results released by election
authorities.

But the opposition immediately cried
foul, claiming a clean vote would have
made a difference of several percentage
points and handed them victory.

The main opposition Republican People’s
Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’
Democratic Party (HDP) said they would
challenge the results from most ballot
boxes due to alleged violations.
“There is only one decision to ease the
situation in the context of the law — the
Supreme Election Board (YSK) should
annul the vote,” the Dogan news agency
quoted CHP deputy leader Bulent Tezcan
as saying.

The referendum has no “democratic
legitimacy”, HDP spokesman and
lawmaker Osman Baydemir told
reporters in Ankara.
There were protests in Istanbul with a
few thousand people crowding the anti-
Erdogan Besiktas and Kadikoy districts,
blowing whistles and chanting “We are
shoulder to shoulder against fascism”.

– ‘Unlevel playing field’ –

The opposition had already complained
of an unfair campaign that saw the “Yes”
backers swamp the airwaves and use
billboards across the country in a
saturation advertising campaign.
International observers agreed the
campaign was conducted on an “unlevel
playing field” and that the vote count
itself was marred by procedural changes
that removed key safeguards.

“The legal framework… remained
inadequate for the holding of a genuinely
democratic referendum,” the OSCE Office
for Democratic Institutions and Human
Rights (ODIHR) and the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe
(PACE) monitors said in a statement.
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.

“Late changes in counting procedures
removed an important safeguard,” said
Cezar Florin Preda, head of the PACE
delegation.
But Erdogan said Turkey had no intention
of paying any attention to the monitors’
report.
He added: “This country held the most
democratic polls that have never been
seen in any other country in the West.”

– ‘End of the dream’ –
Erdogan earlier congratulated cheering
supporters at Ankara’s airport for
“standing tall” in the face of the
“crusader mentality” of the West.
Getting back to business as usual, his
cabinet swiftly extended by another three
months the already nine month state of
emergency imposed after last July’s
failed coup.

There were also signs of a looming crisis
with the EU.
Erdogan reaffirmed he would now hold
talks on reinstating capital punishment —
a move that would automatically end
Turkey’s EU bid — and would hold a
referendum if it did not get enough votes
in parliament to become law.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel
said that if Ankara were to bring back
the death penalty, the move would be
“synonymous with the end of the
European dream”.

In an interview in the Bild newspaper to
be published Tuesday, he warned Turkey
that “joining would not work right now”.
Erdogan said Turkey could hold a
referendum on the membership bid.
“What George, Hans or Helga say does
not interest us,” he said, using typical
European names.

– ‘Big cities say No’ –

Turkey’s new political system is due to
come into effect after elections in
November 2019, although Erdogan is
expected to rapidly rejoin the ruling
Justice Development Party (AKP) he
founded but had to leave when he
became president.
It would dispense with the prime
minister’s post and centralise the entire
executive bureaucracy under the
president, giving Erdogan the direct
power to appoint ministers.

Erdogan’s victory was far tighter than
expected, emerging only after several
nail-biting hours late Sunday which saw
the “No” result dramatically catch up.
Turkey’s three largest cities — Istanbul,
Ankara and Izmir — all voted “No”
although “Yes” prevailed in Erdogan’s
Anatolian heartland.

The Guardian

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