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Trump applauds Erdogan

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Trump congratulates Erdogan on Turkish referendum victory
US President Donald Trump congratulated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday for his victory in a referendum expanding presidential powers, as the US State Department urged Turkey to abide by its constitution and international agreements.
Washington (dpa) - Trump spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call that also included discussions about Syria and about "the need to cooperate against all groups that use terrorism," the White House said Monday evening.

The two leaders agreed on "the importance of holding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accountable," the White House said. Trump and Erdogan also discussed the campaign against the extremist group Islamic State.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people took to the streets of Istanbul on Monday to protest the result of Sunday‘s controversial referendum, in which the "yes" camp won by a slim margin. State Department spokesman Mark Toner noted the concerns raised by European election observers, who found in a preliminary assessment that there was an "unlevel playing field" in the referendum campaign.

"We look to the government of Turkey to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all its citizens - regardless of their vote on April 16 - as guaranteed by the Turkish constitution and in accordance with Turkey‘s international commitments," Toner said.

The US is also "committed to strengthening" its relationship with Turkey, Toner said. "The United States continues to support Turkey‘s democratic development, to which commitment to the rule of law and a diverse and free media remain essential," he said.

Toner encouraged political participants "on both sides to focus on working together for Turkey‘s future and to maintain a meaningful political dialogue."

When asked if US President Trump had concerns about the observers‘ initial assessment, White House spokesman Sean Spicer pointed to a report expected from electoral monitors in 10 to 12 days.

"I think we‘d rather not get ahead of that report and start to make decisions without knowing," Spicer said. "There were observers there, as there routinely are, and I‘d rather wait and see."

For his part, Erdogan slammed the election monitors‘ initial assessment. "This country has carried out the most democratic election - something not one country in the west has ever experienced," he said.


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