World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday he would meet US counterpart Donald Trump in May, a month after he won a contested referendum that will tighten his grip on power.
The US meeting -- the first since Trump took office -- will be a key chance for Erdogan to build a strong alliance with Trump as Ankara's relationship with the European Union goes through one of its worst ever crises.
"The date has been fixed," Erdogan told A News in an interview, saying the trip would happen after he concludes a visit to China on May 15.
"I hope and pray that this tete-a-tete meeting in the United States in May will lay the foundation for a stronger cooperation."
Russian President Vladimir Putin called his Turkish counterpart to offer congratulations.
The 'Yes' camp won Sunday's poll with just 51.41 percent of the vote but the result has been challenged, with the opposition claiming the vote was rigged and angry protests erupting in parts of Istanbul.
The European Union has also urged a probe into fraud claims after international observers voiced concerns.
In the last few months of Barack Obama's presidency, relations between the NATO allies hit a rough patch with Turkey furious over US backing for a Kurdish militia in Syria it sees as a terror group.
Ankara is also pressing Washington to extradite Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Islamic preacher it accuses of being behind last year's failed coup. Gulen denies the charges.
Asked about his potential future relationship with Trump, Erdogan said: "It's very early to comment. When I met president Obama for first time I was very hopeful. Let's embark on this journey."
But he appeared upbeat about the prospects, saying the two had already spoken three times by phone. "Every time we spoke to one another, I have become more hopeful."
He also said that Trump's background as a successful businessman was a help.
"We have an advantage. President Trump is a very successful businessman, he is tycoon in real estate, he was a brand."
He also expressed confidence that Washington would extradite Gulen, saying: "I believe president Trump will do what president Obama failed to do."
Indicating that major meetings with EU leaders were not currently on the agenda, Erdogan said his schedule for trips after the referendum also included Russia and India.
Turkish media said a meeting with Putin would be held on May 3.
'You will get nothing'
Turkey's election authority on Wednesday rejected opposition requests to cancel the referendum result. The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) had claimed major ballot rigging swung the result.
But Erdogan mocked CHP suggestions that it would now ask Turkey's Constitutional Court or the European Court of Human Rights to cancel the referendum.
As for the Constitutional Court, "this is not part of its jurisdiction" while the European judicial instance "does not have a mandate this is a domestic affair," said Erdogan.
Addressing the CHP, he said: "You will not get anything out of this. The Supreme Election Board made its decisions. This is the will of the people."
With Turkish police beginning to crack down on those who have called for demonstrations over the result, left-wing website sendika.org said its editor-in-chief Ali Ergin Demirhan was held in a pre-down raid on its offices.
The arrest comes after at least 16 leftist activists involved in demonstrations against the 'Yes' victory were detained by Istanbul police on Wednesday. In all, a total of 38 arrest warrants were issued.
The opposition is particularly incensed by a last-minute move by the election authorities to accept ballot documents in envelopes without an official stamp.
A spokesman for Spain's state maritime rescue service told AFP that 224 people had been rescued from five vessels in the Strait of Gibraltar and the Alboran Sea, which separate Spain from Morocco.
Corbyn's Labour Party outperformed expectations in this month's election, turning what was predicted to be a procession for May into a disaster, severely weakening her authority as Britain kicks off crucial Brexit talks.
When asked about a list of demands placed on Doha by Saudi Arabia and its allies as the price for lifting an almost three-week "blockade" on Qatar, press secretary Sean Spicer declined to comment directly.
The cladding on the five Chalcots Estate towers is similar to that used on Grenfell, widely blamed for the rapid spread of the massive blaze last week that is presumed to have killed 79 people.
The blast occurred at a coal mine in the town of Cucunuba in Cundinamarca state, some 90 kilometers (55 miles) north of Bogota, at about 2130 GMT.
Peter O'Neill's People's National Congress won the last election in 2012, and he has campaigned on delivering key infrastructure and providing free education and health to a country that remains mired in poverty.
Colombia's ombudsman office, which handles human rights issues, wrote on Twitter that the rebel group freed reporter Derk Johannes Bolt, 62, and his cameraman Eugenio Ernest Marie Follender, 58, in a rural area of Norte de Santander state.
Arrest came after they held news conference to protest continued incarceration of party leader Hakainde Hichilema
Protest leader ‘arrested, severely beaten’, two high-profile human rights groups assert
International investigation could uncover truth about horrific violence in the Kasai region, says Human Rights Watch
There is renewed hope in European project, European Council President Donald Tusk says
Government pledges unhindered access by foreign reporters after pressure from national dialogue committee, says journalist
When George W. Bush was president, Mueller and Comey worked together -- Mueller as FBI director and Comey as deputy attorney general.
A council resolution called on the UN rights office to dispatch a team of international experts to help Kinshasa investigate gross rights violations in the region, including extrajudicial killings, torture, rape and the use of child soldiers.
"My first impression is the UK offer is below our expectations and this risks worsening the situation of our citizens in the UK," EU President Donald Tusk told a news conference after the second day of a Brussels summit.
"This June 23, the United Nations mission in Colombia will announce that the FARC has handed over 100 percent of its weapons," Santos told an economic forum in Paris.