The Latest: White House to arrange Trump-Erdogan phone call
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Latest on Sunday’s presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey (all times local):
The White House is working to arrange a telephone call between President Donald Trump and newly re-elected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH’-jehp TY’-ihp UR’-doh-wahn).
Erdogan will extend his rule and assume sweeping new powers after winning presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that arrangements are being made to set up a call between Trump and Erdogan to “reaffirm our strong bond.”
She says the U.S. also encourages Turkey to take steps to strengthen its democracy and continue progress toward resolving issues between them.
Critics of the election result say it essentially ushers in one-man rule and puts someone with increasingly autocratic tendencies at the helm of a strategically significant NATO country.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants Turkey to be a stable and diverse country it can partner with to tackle the flow of migrants to Europe.
Congratulating Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his election victory, Merkel said Monday the two countries are bound by “many years of friendship” and close personal ties between its citizens.
Merkel said both Germany and Turkey were deeply affected by the upheaval in the Middle East in recent years and that Ankara had “shown great responsibility.”
She said Germany wants “to be the partner of a stable and diverse Turkey, where democratic participation and protection of the rule of law are strengthened.”
Merkel, whose relationship with Erdogan has been rocky at best in recent years, said she looked forward to furthering their cooperation in future.
Greece’s prime minister has called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to congratulate him on his re-election and to press for the release of two Greek soldiers in Turkish custody.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ office said Monday’s phone call also touched on the deal between the European Union and Turkey to curb the number of immigrants who try to reach Europe by traveling from Turkey to the Greek islands.
His office says Tsipras urged a swift release for the two servicemen. They were arrested in March for allegedly entering Turkey illegally, but haven’t been charged with any crimes.
Greek officials say the soldiers were patrolling a poorly marked stretch of the border and strayed into Turkey accidentally.
They have accused Turkey of using them as hostages to secure the extradition of eight Turkish servicemen who fled to Greece after a 2016 coup attempt.
Germany’s foreign minister is urging Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to lift the country’s state of emergency as soon as possible.
Heiko Maas said Monday on the sidelines of an EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg that such a step could improve relations between Turkey and Europe.
Maas said Germany was willing to accept and respect the result of Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections Sunday.
Erdogan won Sunday’s presidential election with 52.6 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. He now rules with substantially expanded powers.
The head of Turkey’s election authority says the release of formal results of Sunday’s parliamentary and presidential elections will be pushed back a week to July 5.
Sadi Guven, president of the Supreme Electoral Council, said Monday that “almost 100 percent” of the ballots cast had been counted. Votes cast by expatriate voters at 41 border crossings were still being processed.
Guven said that over 50 million votes were cast in the elections — more than 26 million of them in favor of Erdogan.
The results were initially scheduled to be confirmed on June 29, but were pushed back because President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s simple majority means there will now be no second round runoff vote.
International observers have criticized the uneven playing field in Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections and said some monitors were obstructed while carrying out their mission.
Audrey Glover who headed an OSCE delegation says Monday that unbalanced media coverage in favor of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling party resulted in voters not being able to “get informed choice.”
She said Turkey had “work” to do to ensure that future elections meet democratic standards.
Ignacio Sanchez Amor, the mission’s special coordinator, said the observers “profoundly regret” that two observers were denied entry into Turkey over alleged bias against the country. He called the move an “utterly unacceptable attempt to influence” the process.
Monitors, however, praised the high turnout in the Turkish vote, which was reported to be over 87 percent by the state-run Anadolu Agency.
A prominent member of Austria’s Freedom Party, the junior partner in the country’s coalition government, says Turks in Austria who voted for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would be “clearly better off in Turkey than Austria.”
Support for Erdogan in Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections Sunday appears to have been particularly high among Turkish citizens living in Austria, whose government has clashed with the Turkish leader in the past.
Nationalist Freedom Party member Johann Gudenus also says Monday “this election result just confirmed once again that the integration of thousands of Turks in our country has failed miserably.”
Erdogan won the Turkish presidential election with 52.6 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. He now rules with substantially expanded powers.
Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party’s jailed candidate has praised his party’s success in winning seats in parliament despite “injustices.”
Selahattin Demirtas’s party, HDP, surpassed the 10 percent threshold needed to make it to parliament in Sunday’s vote, winning a projected 67 seats out of 600, according to unofficial results.
Demirtas, who has been in pre-trial detention since November 2016 on terror-related charges, was one of five candidates running against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and was forced to lead his campaign from prison. He denies any wrongdoing.
On Monday, Demirtas tweeted: “While other candidates could stage 100 campaign rallies, I was able to send out 100 tweets.”
He added: “The fact that I was forced to campaign in detention conditions was the greatest injustice.”
Demirtas won 8.4 percent of the presidential vote.
Sweden’s foreign minister says Turkey’s democracy has to improve its shortcomings but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should be given the chance to do that.
Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom says Turkey “should not give others democracy lessons ... not when opposition leaders are sitting in jail.” She also says the issues with Turkey’s large Kurdish minority and the country’s economic development remain “huge challenges.”
Wallstrom spoke upon arriving Monday for a meeting of the European Union’s foreign ministers in Luxembourg. She says “we are hoping for the end of the state of emergency (in Turkey) and for reforms that will allow Turkey to approach the EU again.”
She said, “I don’t have high hopes for a more democratic development, but we must give Erdogan a chance,” adding that the situation in Turkey “has been worrying for several years.”
Turkey’s main opposition candidate has conceded defeat in Sunday’s presidential and parliamentary elections, calling on the winner, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to end his divisive policies.
Muharrem Ince told reporters on Monday: “I accept the results of the election.”
Erdogan emerged victorious, garnering 52.6 percent of the votes according to unofficial results. Ince, his closest rival, won 30.6 percent.
Ince called on Erdogan: “Be everyone’s president, embrace everyone. That’s what I would have done if I had won.”
The 54-year-old politician criticized Turkey’s new system, saying: “Turkey has cut off its links with democracy. It has cut off links with the parliamentary system. It is transitioning toward a one-man regime.”
Ince said he had garnered 15 million votes in the elections and would work to increase them to 30 million.
Luxembourg’s foreign minister says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now “all-powerful” and it’s up to him whether Turkey’s relations with the European Union improve.
Turkey’s High Electoral Board declared Erdogan the winner of Sunday’s election, which ushers in a new executive presidential system.
Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said as he arrived Monday at a meeting with EU counterparts: “Mr. Erdogan is now an all-powerful man, not just de facto but also formally.”
Asselborn said that “he has everything in his hands,” including the power to end a state of emergency, release detainees and “get on another track with Europe.”
Turkey began EU membership talks in 2005, but the discussions have been at a standstill in recent years.
The head of Turkey’s electoral board says 99.91 percent of the ballots cast in Sunday’s dual presidential and parliamentary elections have been “processed” so far.
Sadi Guven on Monday described the elections, in which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a new five-year term with vastly increased powers, as “healthy” and said the results would be opened for public scrutiny in 10 days.
According to unofficial results, Erdogan won 52.6 percent of the votes in the presidential race, avoiding a second-round runoff vote. His ruling Justice and Development Party garnered 42.5 percent of the parliamentary vote.
The board is scheduled to confirm the results on June 29 after reviewing complaints.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has become one of the first world leaders to congratulate Recep Tayyip Erdogan on being re-elected as Turkey’s president.
Turkey’s national electoral board has declared Erdogan the winner of the country’s presidential election with an absolute majority of valid votes.
Putin sent Erdogan a telegram to congratulate him on the victory, the Kremlin said in a statement Monday.
Putin told Erdogan that the results of the election were a testament to his political authority and the broad support for his leadership.
Turkey and Russia have put aside their traditional rivalries and differences on regional issues to forge closer ties. Putin and Erdogan have met several times in the past year and regularly speak on the phone.
Also Monday, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci congratulated Erdogan in a tweet, adding: “Looking forward to our continued good cooperation.”
Turkey has been a main supporter of Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for the past 15 years, is set to extend his rule with sweeping powers after winning landmark presidential and parliamentary elections.
Turkey’s High Electoral Board declared Erdogan, 64, the winner of Sunday’s polls, which usher in a new executive presidential system that was approved in a referendum last year. Under the system, the office of the prime minister is eliminated and executive powers are transferred to the president, who can rule with limited checks and balances.
Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party fell short of a parliamentary majority but a better-than-expected performance by its nationalist ally would allow the party to control the 600-seat legislature.
Erdogan’s closest rival, Muharrem Ince, who complained of unfair elections, has yet to formally concede defeat.