Donald Trump’s congratulatory call to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the country’s referendum points to a larger problem with Mr Trump’s business ties around the world.
Mr Erdogan’s victory was seen as a power grab by many that would “cement his autocratic rule over the country,” as the New York Times reported.
And with the government only securing a tiny margin of victory, Mr Erdogan most likely would not have won if the referendum had met recognised standards of fairness.
The only other leaders to congratulate Mr Erdogan were those of Qatar, Djibouti, Guinea and the Palestinian militant movement Hamas.
The call may not just about Mr Trump’s preference for brash leaders like himself, but could point to a deeper problem of conflicts of interest with international Trump real estate business.
“Are the president’s comments toward Erdogan related to his support for a Trump property? We can’t know, but it’s a question we unfortunately are forced to ask,” Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for Washington, DC-based Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, told the Huffington Post.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, tweeted a thank you note in 2012 to Mr Erdogan for coming to the opening of Trump Towers in Istanbul.
Mr Erdogan’s new authoritarian capabilities are of particular concern to the US because Turkey is an ally in Nato.
Mr Trump admitted that he “said [Nato] was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete” after speaking with Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in April 2017.
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
1/9 Trump and the media
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer takes questions during the daily press briefing
2/9 Trump and the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Union leaders applaud US President Donald Trump for signing an executive order withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington DC. Mr Trump issued a presidential memorandum in January announcing that the US would withdraw from the trade deal
3/9 Trump and the Mexico wall
A US Border Patrol vehicle sits waiting for illegal immigrants at a fence opening near the US-Mexico border near McAllen, Texas. The number of incoming immigrants has surged ahead of the upcoming Presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, who has pledged to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. A signature campaign promise, Mr Trump outlined his intention to build a border wall on the US-Mexico border days after taking office
4/9 Trump and abortion
US President Donald Trump signs an executive order as Chief of Staff Reince Priebus looks on in the Oval Office of the White House. Mr Trump reinstated a ban on American financial aide being granted to non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counseling, provide abortion referrals, or advocate for abortion access outside of the United States
5/9 Trump and the Dakota Access pipeline
Opponents of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines hold a rally as they protest US President Donald Trump's executive orders advancing their construction, at Columbus Circle in New York. US President Donald Trump signed executive orders reviving the construction of two controversial oil pipelines, but said the projects would be subject to renegotiation
6/9 Trump and 'Obamacare'
Nancy Pelosi who is the minority leader of the House of Representatives speaks beside House Democrats at an event to protect the Affordable Care Act in Los Angeles, California. US President Donald Trump's effort to make good on his campaign promise to repeal and replace the healthcare law failed when Republicans failed to get enough votes. Mr Trump has promised to revisit the matter
7/9 Donald Trump and 'sanctuary cities'
US President Donald Trump signed an executive order in January threatening to pull funding for so-called "sanctuary cities" if they do not comply with federal immigration law
8/9 Trump and the travel ban
US President Donald Trump has attempted twice to restrict travel into the United States from several predominantly Muslim countries. The first attempt, in February, was met with swift opposition from protesters who flocked to airports around the country. That travel ban was later blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The second ban was blocked by a federal judge a day before it was scheduled to be implemented in mid-March
SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty Images
9/9 Trump and climate change
US President Donald Trump sought to dismantle several of his predecessor's actions on climate change in March. His order instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to reevaluate the Clean Power Plan, which would cap power plant emissions
The “strongman” ties do not end with Mr Erdogan either. Mr Trump has close ties to Jose Antonio, a real estate developer in the Philippines, who was appointed as a special envoy to the US by controversial leader Rodrigo Duterte.
Beyond Turkey and the Philippines, there are concerns with Mr Trump’s upcoming meeting with Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri who, along with his father, had real estate dealings with Mr Trump in the 1980s in New York.
Mr Trump’s business rapidly expanded in the city during that decade, in part securing his pop culture icon status.
Mr Macri is visiting the White House to discuss strengthening the trade relationship between the two countries. The Trump organisation has ongoing construction projects in Buenos Aires.
Another questionable tie is with former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, who fled his country on insider trading charges and is now said to be living in Miami despite Panama’s extradition request.
Not only does the Trump organisation have real estate holdings in Panama City, but Mr Martinelli was invited to Mr Trump’s inauguration earlier this year.
Other issues are created when the Trump organisation rents out spaces in its buildings.
The state-owned Qatar Airlines and Saudi Prince Mutaib bin Abdulaziz Al Saud rent or own working and living quarters in Trump-owned properties, muddling the US's official relationship with these countries.Reuse content