Obama hails `vibrancy` of Turkish democracy

Almost 80% of voters had turned out for constitutional referendum in Turkey.

Washington: US President Barack Obama hailed the "vibrancy of Turkish democracy" after almost 80 percent of voters turned out for a constitutional referendum.

The White House said on Sunday Obama had called Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and congratulated him on Turkey`s hosting of the World Basketball Championship, the final of which was to be competed between the two nations. The US beat Turkey to win the World Basketball Championship.

"The President said he is rooting for the American team but that whoever wins both teams have played great basketball," a statement said.

"The President also acknowledged the vibrancy of Turkey`s democracy as reflected in the turnout for the referendum that took place across Turkey today (Sunday)."

Erdogan earlier said that between 77 and 78 percent of voters went to the polls, with some 58 percent of them backing measures to reshape the judiciary and curb the military`s powers.

The outcome came as a huge boost for Erdogan`s Justice and Development Party (AKP) ahead of general elections next year in which the party, the moderate offshoot of a banned Islamist movement, will seek a third straight term in power.

The secularist opposition had campaigned against the amendments, charging that they masked an AKP quest to take control of the judiciary and assert an authoritarian grip on power.


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