Trump Calls Turkish President Erdogan to Congratulate Him on Becoming a Dictator
Donald Trump took time out of his “busy” day to give Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a call and congratulate him on winning a referendum vote that expanded his executive powers to dictatorial proportions over the people of Turkey.
The White House statement reads in part: “President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to congratulate him on his recent referendum victory.”
According to Mark Toner, acting spokesperson for the US State Department, the Trump administration is looking “to the government of Turkey to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all its citizens” after this authoritarian move by Erdogan.
Toner added: “The United States remains committed to strengthening our bilateral relationship. The United States continues to support Turkey’s democratic development, to which commitment to the rule of law and a diverse and free media remain essential.”
However, contrary to the State Department’s statement, the results of this referendum in Turkey drastically altered the political landscape of the country – turning it from a parliamentary democracy to a centralized power structure with Erdogan at the top.
This referendum consolidates all power to the executive branch in Turkey, gets rid of the existing parliament and replaces it with a model that places Erdogan as both head of state and head of the government.
Toner explained that it is the stance of the Trump administration that “democracies gain strength through respect for diverse points of view” and this referendum is proof that the Turkish voting system is working.
But in reality, as several international monitors have pointed out, there was “massive electoral fraud” committed during the referendum vote.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe (COE) both reported that just prior to the referendum vote “45,000 oppositionists” were arrested and “130,000 civil servants” were dismissed. In addition, those who opposed the referendum were labeled “terrorist sympathizers”.
Erdogan had 13 members of parliament jailed for terrorism who also happened to be Kurdish, overtook 82 Kurdish cities and townships, and imprisoned mayors who were elected by the people.
During the run-up to the vote, “intimidation led to widespread self-censorship. About 150 journalists are in jail, more than any other country, and about 160 media outlets were shut down.”
To prevent opponents from voting, “Kurdish voters were disenfranchised. Approximately 500,000 Kurds in the Southeast are displaced and homeless as a result of attacks by Turkey’s security services. They were ineligible to vote because they could not register at an address.”