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Donald Trump’s Endorsement Of Disputed Turkey Referendum Reflects Conflict Of Interest

By Published April 19, 2017

Several western countries have condemned the massive irregularities and rigging that trailed the narrow majority win of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the referendum that will bolster his autocratic power and weaken the nation's democracy.

The European Commission has in fact called for an investigation into the disputed referendum casting a dark cloud over Erdogan’s victory.

However, President Donald Trump has called to congratulating President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on winning a referendum that international observers (including Americans) said took place on an "uneven playing field" and questions the outcome.

A brief White House summary of Trump's call to Erdogan did not reference any such concerns, following the referendum, Turkey will shift from a parliamentary government to one largely controlled by the president—though many of the changes strengthening the president's powers won't take place until after the next election in 2019.

Although White house has embarked on its usual damage control after criticism of President Trump’s congratulatory call which critics see as an endorsement of what is clearly against America’s democratic ideals, a quote from a 2015 interview on a news show with Steve Bannon who incidentally is now one of President Trump’s advisor, the quote raises a conflict of interest concern in Trump’s congratulatory call to Erdogan.

"I have a little conflict of interest 'cause I have a major, major building in Istanbul. It's a tremendously successful job. It's called Trump Towers—two towers, instead of one, not the usual one, it's two."

In 2012, Erdogan, then as Prime Minister, the opening ceremony for the Trump Towers.

It appears that Turkey's Trump Towers pose more than "a little conflict of interest but Trump has said ‘’the president can’t have a conflict of interest because he’s not covered by US laws governing conflicts in the executive branch but that has not deterred the ethics watchdog group who have taken legal action against the president on grounds that his financial dealings violate a constitutional prohibition on financial conflict.

President Trump business ties has in the past influenced national decisions, his first executive order that bans citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East from entering the United States for 90 days conveniently excludes Muslim countries where his Trump Organization has done business or is pursuing potential deals. Properties include golf courses in the United Arab Emirates and two luxury towers in Turkey.

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