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4/18/17

Turkey: Trump Congratulates Erdogan on the disputed Referendum Vote

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

According to accounts by both Trump and Erdogan, the two also discussed the U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base in response to the April 4 chemical weapons attack on civilians in Idlib province. Trump thanked Erdogan for Turkey’s support of the retaliatory action.

The "leaders" agreed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should be held accountable for the chemical attack that killed at least 70 people, and they talked about the ongoing campaign to counter the Islamic State.

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.

Note EU-Digest: Even though the OSCE/ODIHR, observers who were in Turkey offered a harsh analysis on the way the Turkish referendum was conducted and noted "The legal framework for the referendum neither sufficiently provided for impartial coverage nor guarantees eligible political parties equal access to public media." President Trump for some bizarre reason went ahead and congratulated Erdogan. What makes this even more bizarre is that this was not about Erdogan winning an election, but that it was about a contested referendum. 

Very poor judgement on the part of President Trump to support a disputed vote in a foreign country and thereby indirectly supporting a very tainted political leader of that country  .

EU-Digest

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