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Opposition to challenge votes on expanding Erdogan's powers


"President Trump thanked President Erdogan for supporting this action by the United States, and the leaders agreed on the importance of holding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accountable", the statement continued.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced European criticism of the country's controversial referendum on constitutional reform which has granted him extensive new executive powers. According to the White House, Trump called Erdoğan on Monday to "congratulate him on his recent referendum victory".

In remarks translated by BBC, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said the referendum result was a "clear signal against the European Union".

Opposition parties complained of a number of irregularities in the voting, including an electoral board decision to accept as valid ballots that did not bear the official stamp.

"With what happened yesterday, (Turkey's) membership prospects are buried, in practical terms", the Austrian chancellor, Christian Kern, said in a statement.

Global monitors said the move undermined safeguards against fraud.

Earlier on Monday, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said a "lack of equal opportunities, one-sided media coverage, and limitations on fundamental freedoms" had created an "unlevel playing field" in Turkey's vote.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called on Tuesday the country's opposition to respect the referendum result that grants the president sweeping powers.

Unofficial election results from Turkey's electoral board said the "yes" vote took more than 51 percent while the "no" vote took just under 49 percent. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his anger over the report published by the OSCE observer mission on the constitutional referendum, Anadolu reports. Global observers said the referendum was not up to standard, calling the government out on biased media coverage as well as the lack of freedom of information and independent oversight.

Meanwhile the Saudi Cabinet also congratulated Erdogan and the Turkish people on the successful referendum and said it hoped the vote would contribute to "more development and success across the country".

The White House readout of Mr Trump's call noted the pressing issues on which the U.S. has tried to work with Turkey, namely fighting the so-called Islamic State group and quelling Syria's civil war.