Trump congratulates Erdogan for referendum win


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.

Gunal also voiced his support for Erdogan's announcement that he will study the possibility of restoring the death penalty in Turkey.

The opposition has been particularly incensed by a last-minute move by the board to accept ballot documents in envelopes without an official stamp.

The Polish foreign ministry has said that it looks forward "to continuing developing traditionally good bilateral relations" with Turkey following a referendum in which voters backed sweeping new powers for President Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan opposes USA support for Syrian Kurdish rebels because he considers them terrorists and sees their war-time territorial gains as threatening his country's efforts to vanquish its own separatist Kurdish insurgency.

The report also appeared to endorse the opposition's complaint that the country's electoral commission, which it accused of lacking transparency, changed its own rules on referendum day to order vote counters to consider valid ballots that lacked official stamps.

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The referendum approves 18 constitutional amendments that allow the president to appoint ministers, senior government officials and to hold sway over who sits in Turkey's highest judicial body, as well as to issue decrees and declare states of emergency.

Global monitors said the move undermined safeguards against fraud. Everyone and all sections - and the main opposition party in particular- must show respect. Now they are preparing a report stating that the elections in Turkey passed in this or that way.

Dieter Kempf, president of the BDI lobby group, says the result of the vote "is worrying" and suggests Turkey is moving further away from European values.

Earlier on Monday, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had said that circumstances such as a "lack of equal opportunities, one-sided media coverage, and limitations on fundamental freedoms" had created an "unlevel playing field" in the campaigning and voting process. The two leaders also discussed Turkey's support of the US response to a Syrian chemical weapons attack and efforts to counter the Islamic State group, according to the White House statement on their phone call Monday.

Following a fierce campaign, President Erdogan reportedly won 51.4 per cent of the vote in the historic referendum, which will see the prime minister's post abolished and power concentrated in the presidency.