Trump Congratulates Erdogan on Referendum Win

President Donald Trump called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to congratulate him on a referendum that expanded the Turkish president’s powers, the White House confirmed Monday night. “President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey to congratulate him on his recent referendum victory and to discuss the United States’ action in response to the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons on April 4th,” the White House said in a statement. The referendum, which passed by a narrow 51.4 percent margin, will significantly alter Turkey’s system of government, changing it from a parliamentary system to a presidential republic under which the office of the prime minister will be eliminated and the office of the president will gain significant new powers. The proposal has been criticized as a move toward a more autocratic system. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Council of Europe has called the election unfair, citing misuse of state resources and elimination of freedoms under Turkey’s current state of emergency.