President Trump congratulates Erdogan on referendum victory

Ignoring concerns raised by worldwide monitoring groups, President Donald Trump has called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to congratulate him on the country's contested referendum greatly increasing presidential powers.

The changes limit any one president to two terms, although under certain circumstances they could seek a third.

The National Security Council (MGK) will convene late on April 17 amid speculation that it will extend a state of emergency by another three months, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

"We encourage voters and parties on both sides to focus on working together for Turkey's future and to maintain a meaningful political dialogue", said acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner.

"In general, the referendum did not live up to Council of Europe standards".

The CHP on Monday called for the annulment of the referendum and said it would take its challenge to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary, after a last-minute decision by the electoral board to allow unstamped ballots.

When Erdogan took over the largely ceremonial post of President after serving 11 years as Prime Minister, one thought this was the beginning of the gradual phase-out of the 63-year-old politician.

The president could also in some circumstances dissolve parliament, although this would also mean calling an early presidential election. The elected president would not be required to cut ties with his political party.

The opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has questioned the legitimacy of the results and has complained of the last-minute change of rules over the ballot stamps. The president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, tweeted his own concerns.

Global observers agreed the campaign was conducted on an "unlevel playing field" and that the vote count itself was marred by procedural changes that removed key safeguards.

"The members of some election commissions, despite the education we provided, despite the information we gave them, made mistakes".

The party will have three days to raise any objections with the electoral board.

The White House previously sidestepped questions on the referendum, with spokesman Sean Spicer saying the U.S. wanted to let an global commission review the results.

Turkey has been an European Union candidate for decades, but its accession efforts have been all but moribund for several years.

"President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey to congratulate him on his recent referendum victory and to discuss the United States' action in response to the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons on April 4th", the White House said in a readout statement overnight, adding that the president had thanked Erdoğan for his support of Trump's recent military action in Syria.

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