White House: Trump congratulates Erdogan after disputed win

Trump thanked Erdogan for supporting the action.

Opponents accuse him of leading a drive towards one-man rule in Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member that borders Iran, Iraq and Syria and whose stability is of vital importance to the United States and the European Union.

But the president's victory leaves the nation deeply divided and facing increasing tension with former allies overseas, while worldwide monitors and opposition parties have reported numerous voting irregularities.

Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan celebrate in Istanbul, Turkey April 16, 2017. It would also reportedly eliminate the country's office of prime minister.

The referendum was held Sunday with a state of emergency still in place, imposed after the attempted coup in July.

The Trump administration didn't get its message straight Monday on the Turkish referendum granting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expansive new powers.

He said it was not important if the European Union suspended Turkish accession talks.

Returning in triumph to his presidential palace in Ankara, Erdogan addressed thousands of supporters gathered outside, telling monitors who criticised the poll: "Know your place". "We'll continue on our path. Talk to the hand. This country has carried out the most democratic elections, not seen anywhere in the West".

"Our monitoring showed the "Yes" campaign dominated media coverage", the monitor added.

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"In general, the referendum did not live up to Council of Europe standards". The approval of amendment package - backed by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and opposed by main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), the third largest party in Parliament - means an administrative shift will take place in 2019 if no early elections are held.

"Late changes in counting procedures removed an important safeguard", said Mr Preda, who headed the PACE delegation, referring to the election authorities' decision to permit ballot papers without an official stamp.

Turkey's foreign ministry dismissed the observers' criticism as lacking objectivity and impartiality.

The U.S. State Department said it had taken note of the European monitors' concerns and looked forward to a final report, urging the Turkish government to protect the rights and freedoms of all citizens, however they voted. Turkey today faces myriad problems, many stemming from the civil war in Syria.

The pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party said it presented complaints about unstamped ballots affecting 3 million voters, more than twice the margin of Erdogan's victory.

The call was first reported by Turkish state media, one day after Erdogan won over 51 percent in Sunday's vote. Election board officials have said they were trying to avoid suppressing votes and that the move was not unprecedented. He is a charismatic and populist leader who served his country in many ways and earned so much trust and confidence of his people that they came out instantly at his call to defend democracy when some sections of Turkish Army tried to stage a coup in July a year ago.

"We have put up a fight against the powerful nations of the world", he said as he arrived at the airport from Istanbul.

Germany, home to several million Turks, said it was up to Erdogan himself to heal the rifts that the vote had exposed.

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