04/18/2017 (Tue) 17:43:27
The White House's congratulatory tone made no mention of alleged voting irregularities in the Turkish referendum — a distinct contrast with the State Department. Acting State Department spokesperson Mark Toner pointed to a report by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe detailing an "unlevel playing" in the Turkish campaign as cause potential issue in assessing the referendum.
"Democracies gain strength through respect for diverse points of view, especially on difficult issues," Toner said. "We thank the OSCE Referendum Observation Mission for its important work and note the concerns detailed in its preliminary assessment of the conduct of the vote and campaign. Those concerns include observed irregularities on voting day and an uneven playing field during the difficult campaign period, which took place under a state of emergency.
Toner added that the U.S. government was looking “to the government of Turkey to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all its citizens — regardless of their vote on April 16 — as guaranteed by the Turkish constitution and in accordance with Turkey’s international commitments, such as under the Helsinki Charter.”
Earlier in the day White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the White House wanted to see what international election monitors had to say about the vote.
“I think we’d rather not get ahead of that report and start to make decisions without knowing. There were observers there, as they routinely are, and I’d rather wait and see,” Spicer said.
It was not entirely clear why, despite Spicer's statement, the White House later released word of Trump congratulating Erdogan.
Trump’s tone also contrasted with other world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel who was cooler, by comparison, in a joint statement with Germany’s foreign minister.
They noted the “tight referendum results show how deeply divided Turkish society is” and called on Erdogan to take responsibility for all citizens.