Turkey's Erdogan to meet Trump in May, minister says

Cheryl Sanders
April 20, 2017

President Trump's phone call to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan congratulating him on the passage of a referendum expanding his governing powers was not an endorsement of the measure, the White House said Tuesday.

He also said the electoral board's last-minute decision to allow unstamped ballots had prevented proper record-keeping, meaning that it was now impossible to determine how many invalid or fake votes may have been counted.

People's Republican Party (CHP) deputy chairman Bulent Tezcan announced he had filed a request with the High Electoral Board (YSK) on April 18, saying the results of the referendum on constitutional changes are "illegitimate" due to voting irregularities.

Turkey's prime minister has called on the opposition to respect the result of a referendum that will expand the powers of the office of the president.

In an address to legislators from his ruling party on Tuesday, Yildirim said the people had voted to switch from a parliamentary to a presidential system, adding: the "opposition should not speak after the people have spoken".

Worldwide election monitors, including from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, also noted a series of irregularities, and said the decision to accept as valid ballots without official stamps undermined safeguards against fraud and was contrary to Turkish law.

Yildirim said the "the path to seek rights" should be limited to legal objections and urged the opposition to accept the vote's outcome. The president will also be allowed to keep his ties to a political party.

Turkey rejected on Tuesday the European Union call for referendum probe.

On Tuesday, Mr Yildirim said Mr Erdogan would be invited to join the party as soon as the official results are declared.

He said that Turkey did not "see, hear or acknowledge" the observer mission's reports and accused some European countries of showing more opposition to the constitutional changes than Turkey's own opposition parties.

Asked to comment about Erdogan's rebuke, Ms de Zulueta said: "I don't have an opinion, we are invited by the Turkish authorities to observe".

Thousands of people took to the streets of Istanbul and other Turkish cities late on April 17 to protest the results of the referendum. We expect that Turkey would do the same.

US President Donald Trump has become the first Western leader to congratulate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for winning a controversial referendum that grants him far-reaching, largely unchecked powers.

However, unlike President Buhari, the European Union has called on Turkish authorities to launch "transparent investigations" after global observers criticised the voting process during the recent referendum. Cavusoglu said that he and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would finalize the date according to the two presidents' schedules.

Other reports by iNewsToday