Erdogan sworn in as Turkey's president with vast new powers

Lloyd Doyle
July 10, 2018

No more. From Monday, it is a presidential republic under its omnipotent leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He will take the oath of office in parliament at 4 pm (1300 GMT), before attending a ceremony two hours later at the huge presidential palace he has constructed in the capital.

Erdogan, 64, says a powerful executive presidency is vital to drive economic growth, ensure security after a failed 2016 military coup and safeguard Turkey from war across its southern border in Syria and Iraq.

The introduction of the new presidential system marks the biggest overhaul of governance since the Turkish republic was established on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire almost a century ago.

Mr Erdogan's new position marks a transition away from a parliamentary system and the office of prime minister, which has been in place since the foundation of the modern Turkish republic 95 years ago.

Erdogan named Fuat Oktay, a former Turkish Airlines executive who studied in the United States, as vice president.

The new system was agreed in a bitterly fought 2017 referendum, but the changes have been vehemently denounced by the opposition.

He says the changes, the biggest overhaul of governance since the modern Turkish republic was founded from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire nearly a century ago, are needed to drive Turkey's economic growth and guarantee its security.

Opponents say the new powers mark a lurch to authoritarianism, accusing Erdogan of eroding the secular institutions set up by modern Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and driving it further from Western values on democracy and free speech.

But the pro-government daily Yeni Safak hailed it as an "historic day", saying: "One page is closing in Turkish history and a new page is opening".


The president now sits at the top of a vertical power structure marked by a slimmed-down government with 16 ministries instead of 26 and multiple bodies reporting to him.

In one of the most significant changes, the European Union affairs ministry, set up in 2011 to oversee Turkey's faltering bid to join the bloc, will be subsumed into the foreign ministry.

The president said in the previous days that there will not be any members or parliamentarians of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in the new cabinet, hinting that it will be made up of former politicians and bureaucrats.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir is on the guest list as is Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar, Turkey's closest ally in the Middle East.

Turkish Presidential Press Secretary Ibrahim Kalin.

Army chief of staff General Hulusi Akar joined the government as defence minister but Mevlut Cavusoglu kept the post of foreign minister.

Turkey also faces a widening current account deficit making it reliant on weak foreign investment to plug the gap.

He won last month's election with 52.6 per cent of the vote, ushered in the executive presidency that ends parliamentary governance and boosts the powers of the formerly ceremonial presidency.

The AKP failed to win a majority in legislative elections and will need support from its allies in the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) who could push it into more hardline policies.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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