The United States urged Turkey's leaders to respect opposition opinion and free expression today after a referendum win gave President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers. Washington did not dispute the result of the poll, but noted the concerns expressed by OSCE observers and urged the government to respect the rights of all its citizens "regardless of their vote." "Democracies gain strength through respect for diverse points of view, especially on difficult issues," said Mark Toner, acting spokesman for the US State Department. "The United States continues to support Turkey's democratic development, to which commitment to the rule of law and a diverse and free media remain essential," he said. Erdogan's opponents fear the referendum result has set him on course for one-man rule and tensions are rising after his referendum victory, which was narrow despite a crackdown on opposition media. The main opposition parties have said they would challenge the result, and international observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe expressed concern about the conduct of the campaign. Washington noted the concerns, which Toner said included "observed irregularities on voting day and an uneven playing field during the difficult campaign period, which took place under a state of emergency." He said the United States looks forward to receiving the group's full report, which might take several weeks.
US urges Turkey to respect all views after referendum