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Top Republican breaks with Trump over Turkey’s ‘creeping authoritarianism’

A top House Republican condemned the “creeping authoritarianism” plaguing a NATO ally, in a pointed break with President Trump’s reaction to the results of an election that expands the power of Turkey’s president.

“Turkey’s creeping authoritarianism continues,” House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce said Tuesday. “All who value democracy, pluralism and Turkey’s key role in the region should be concerned about the elimination of important checks and balances in the Turkish system.”

That’s a sharp divergence from President Trump, who congratulated Erdogan “on his recent referendum victory after a constitutional referendum expanding his authority passed with just over 51 percent of the vote, even as opposition leaders alleged that he won due to fraud. I am especially troubled by initial reports of irregularities and an ‘unlevel playing field’ from independent election observers, and I will review the full body of facts when they are released in the days ahead,” Royce said.

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