Home / Washington / In a Surprise Call, Trump congratulated Erdogan for his ‘hotly contested’ election win

In a Surprise Call, Trump congratulated Erdogan for his ‘hotly contested’ election win

By Ilhan Tanır, Washington, DC

Trump ‘congratulates’ Erdogan for his recent election ‘victory’

White House readout on President Trump’s phone with President Erdogan indicates Trump congratulated Erdogan for his election ‘victory.’

This call came as a surprise because just on Monday OSCE observers issued a scathing a report in which casting a doubt over elections.

There has been no call from European leaders to congratulate Erdogan. So far only a half dozen small scale country leaders made such calls from undemocratic countries such Azerbaijan.

Earlier on Monday US State Department refused congratulating Erdogan, neither stated there was any victory. Instead the Foggy Bottom urged all sides to work together.

OSCE named Turkey’s Supreme Election Board, or YSK decision about questionable ballots with no official seal were to be considered valid, against the law.

Pro-Erdogan media mentioned that Trump also congratulated President Erdoğan on his ‘strong leadership’ though White House readout does not have such reference.

As expected, US leader does not mention any of freedom issues, neither hundreds of journalists rotting in Turkish jails during the call with Turkish President.

Only an hour or so before Trump’s call, during press briefing, White House spokesperson Sean Spicer when asked about the referendum, said White House is going to let international commission (OSCE) to do their job in 10 or 12 days. Spicer hinted White House will not take any steps, i.e. making phone call before the International commission does its job.

Only an hour or later it turned out President Trump called Erdogan to congratulate him for his “victory.” A victory that is both very close and still hotly contested.

Here is the full q and a:

Q I wanted to ask you a couple of questions about the situation in Turkey. Is the President concerned at all about the reports from international monitors that this referendum that gives President Erdogan these sweeping powers have irregularities in it?

MR. SPICER: My understanding is there’s an international commission that is reviewing this and issues a report in 10 to 12 days. And so we’ll wait and let them do their job. There were international monitors throughout Turkey and we’ll let —

Q And what would he like to see Erdogan do? Would he like to see a hold right now while that review happens?

MR. SPICER: I think at this point — I don’t think — I think we’d rather not get ahead of that report and start to make decisions without knowing. There were observers there, as there routinely are, and I’d rather wait and see.

Q And just beyond the irregularities, just the act that Erdogan is going through to try to accumulate these powers, what does the President make of that?

MR. SPICER: Again, I’m not going to — they have a right to elections and their people participate in that. Before we start getting into their governing system, let this commission get through its work.

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