U.S. President Donald J. Trump has become 1st Western leader to congratulate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over his victory in Sunday’s referendum that significantly expanded presidential power.
Turkish presidential sources said late on Monday that Mr. Trump called his Turkish counterpart and congratulated Mr. Erdogan over the victory in the referendum. A written statement about the call will follow.
In a historic vote on Sunday, only a slight majority of voters granted Mr. Erdogan sweeping new powers that would unwind century-old political system while opposition outcried fraud and widespread irregularities, contesting the result.
The referendum on Sunday effectively changed Turkey’s political system, transferring the center of power from Parliament to the Presidency. Mr. Erdogan will now have powers such as dissolving Parliament, bypassing Parliament through executive decrees and declaring the state of emergency. The constitutional changes also significantly weakened checks and balances and gave the president a greater control over the judiciary.
No Western leader congratulated President Erdogan as of Monday, breaking a long tradition in a sign that they are not pleased with the outcome. Some Western governments said they would make a statement after international observers announce their report about the contested referendum.