Putin congratulates Erdoğan over referendum win

Putin congratulates Erdoğan over referendum win

ISTANBUL - Agence France-Presse
Putin congratulates Erdoğan over referendum win

AFP photo

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 18 for winning the April 16 referendum on constitutional amendments, the Kremlin and Turkish state media said.

Putin telephoned Erdoğan to congratulate him over the win of the “yes” side in the referendum, state-run Anadolu Agency said, quoting presidential sources.

The Kremlin said in a statement that Putin congratulated Erdoğan for the “successful carrying out” of the referendum.     

On April 17, U.S. President Donald Trump also congratulated Erdoğan for his victory in the poll, which has been disputed by the opposition and has been greeted coolly by the European Union.

According to Anadolu Agency, Putin and Erdoğan emphasized the importance of normalizing ties, which are still recovering after a Turkish jet shot down a Russian war plane over the Syrian border in 2015.

The two leaders also noted the importance of maintaining a cease-fire in Syria jointly brokered by Ankara and Moscow, it added.

The Kremlin said the cease-fire needed to be reinforced as well as the twin talks processes based in Astana and Geneva.

Both sides also emphasized the importance of an “unpartisan” investigation into the suspected chemical attack in Syria earlier this month, the Kremlin said.

Ankara has said the deadly nerve agent sarin was used by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, an opinion not shared by Russia.  

Some analysts are predicting Ankara will move closer toward Moscow after the referendum as increased strains emerge in its relations with the European Union.