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Putin congratulates Erdogan on Turkey’s referendum results

The two leaders have also discussed Syria in a telephone conversation, the Kremlin said

MOSCOW, April 18./TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the victory of his supporters in referendum in Turkey, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

"Yes, the president has congratulated Erdogan," he confirmed.

Earlier, some Turkish media reported that the Russian leader had sent a telegram of congratulations to his Turkish counterpart.

On Monday, Peskov told reporters that the Kremlin sees the referendum as "absolutely a sovereign affair of the Turkish Republic," and called to respect the choice made by Turkey at Sunday’s referendum on expanding presidential powers.

Turkey’s constitutional amendments

The proposed amendments will significantly increase the presidential powers while the Office of the Prime Minister will be abolished. They also allow the president to appoint vice presidents, ministers and some members of the Board of Judges and prosecutors. The president will be able to issue decrees that will come into force without preliminary approval of the parliament, but they may be abolished if the legislators reject them during the debates.

The president will have the power to declare a state of emergency in the country, initiate referendums and submit a draft budget to the parliament for discussion. But such decrees should be approved by the parliament. The president will have the right to remain a party member if necessary.

The parliament will be able to control the work of the government through the vice president and written requests to him that may be sent by initiating a parliamentary investigation. A probe may be launched against the president but three-fifths of the parliament should call for it. The number of seats in the parliament will be increased from 550 to 600, and the minimum age requirement for the candidates for MPs will be reduced from 25 to 18.

Under the amendments, military courts will be abolished. The term of parliament and president will be extended from four to five years, but the president will be allowed to serve for no more than two times in a row.