Is this a sign that President Donald Trump will turn into a dictator as well?
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a narrow victory in a referendum created to grant him massive powers and cement his autocratic rule over the country. Erdogan will now rule the country till 2029 with near total control and hardly any check to his power — despite the fact the Turkey’s opposition leaders are crying foul over the irregularities in the voting system.
So what does the U.S. president do? Instead of calling the Turkish president out on his suspect win, Trump called him and congratulated him.
It is not yet clear whether Trump only meant to congratulate Erdogan on his dramatic win. Because if he also meant to congratulate him on the reforms — which also grant the Turkish dictator the power to bring back the death penalty — that surely does not bode well for the United States.
And let’s not forget the fact that the Turkish autocrat purged 70,000 people after the failed coup attempt by a rebel army faction — which some suspect was orchestrated by the Erdogan himself to smoke out any and all of his opposition.
good one -- although Obamas statement, unlike Trump's, nodded to rights and reform https://t.co/WswmE0Dsj7— Michael Crowley (@michaelcrowley) April 18, 2017
Had Turkey not told the planet Trump called Erdogan to congratulate him on getting dictatorial powers, I bet the WH would have never told us— Eric Schmeltzer (@JustSchmeltzer) April 18, 2017
I promise you what happened with Erdogan in Turkey, could happen here. Trump was the first to congratulate him. https://t.co/HEzI9SXl4T— H??? A?????? (@HahnAmerica) April 18, 2017
Can someone please remind Trump that America is a democracy & he shouldn't congratulate Turkey's Erdogan? Hope he doesn't get any ideas— David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) April 18, 2017
Trump called to congratulate Erdo?an after Turkey vote grants sweeping powers... also extended invitation to his growing Strongmen Club.— Samrat Chowdhery (@samrat) April 18, 2017
@peterbakernyt Trump has huge holdings in Turkey, abetted by Erdogan cronies. So he calls the strongman to congratulate him on becoming a dictator.— larryleclair (@larryleclair) April 18, 2017
Trump’s congratulatory message is at odds with that of the State Department, which urged Ankara to respect the human rights of its citizens while pointing out the election “irregularities on voting day and an uneven playing field during the difficult campaign period,” observed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
“We look to the government of Turkey to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all its citizens,” said the department’s acting spokesman, Mark Toner.
“Both the U.S. and E.U. are in a bind,” said Michael Werz, a Turkey analyst with the Center for American Progress. “They can either [disagree with] the OSCE findings or they can say the truth: It was not a free and fair election.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer responded to the result of Turkey’s referendum with caution and said he would withhold from commenting until a final report of election observer is complete by next week.
However, there is no denying the fact the Trump has some similarities with Erdogan. Both of them consider themselves to be populist leaders with little regard for courts (or constitutions, for that matter) or other checks in their power. However, the radical Erdogan has taken his autocracy to the extreme by purging all opposition after the failed coup.
They also wanted to punish Bashar Al-Assad, the tyrannical president of Syria, for using chemical weapons against his own people earlier this month. Both also want to stand together in battling ISIS, however Turkey has deep misgivings about America’s plan to arm Kurdish fighters, whom Erdogan considers terrorists.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters