Erdogan assumes greater powers as Turkey's new era begins

10 Julio, 2018, 06:22 | Author: Arnold Perez

Speaking at his sprawling presidential compound in Ankara, Erdogan unveiled the rebranded presidency "on this most important day of our country".

His comments on Monday came shortly after taking the oath of office to become Turkey's first executive president with increased powers after his election victory last month.

He told the Turkish President that he would be sending the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Muhammed Bello, to represent him.

Presidents Buhari and Erdogan enjoy a great relationship and have met a number of times since their coming into office.

His supporters see them as just reward for a leader who has put Islamist values at the core of public life, championed the pious working classes and built airports, hospitals and schools.

The new cabinet, due to be announced at 1800 GMT, is expected to have a different look, especially after Erdogan said the government would include non-AKP figures.

Under the new system, Erdogan will not only run the executive branch but also lead his Justice and Development Party in parliament where he is six short of a majority and therefore allied with a nationalist party.

Opponents say the move marks 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 of democracy and free speech.

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On the eve of Monday's inauguration authorities dismissed more than 18,000 state employees - a lot of them from the police and army - in what the government said would be the final decree under emergency rule imposed following a failed 2016 coup.

The post of prime minister has been scrapped and the president will be able to select a cabinet, regulate ministries and remove civil servants, all without parliamentary approval. The only European Union leaders are set to be Bulgarian President Rumen Radev and Hungary's strongman Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

"There is no stopping for us until we bring Turkey - which we saved from plotters, coupists and political and economic hitmen, street gangs and terrorist organisations - to among the top 10 economies in the world", he said.

"Most powers will be concentrated in his hands, there will no longer be a prime minister, and nearly none of the checks and balances of liberal democracies will be present".

Erdogan narrowly won a referendum previous year to replace his country's parliamentary democracy with a system featuring an all-powerful presidency, and followed that with a hard-fought election victory last month to the newly strengthened post.

In other words, Turkey will be an institutionalised autocracy.

Earlier on Monday the lira briefly dropped more than 1 percent after a decree removed a clause stipulating a five-year term for the central bank governor. Erdoĝan has repeatedly clashed with strategic allies such as the United States and the European Union in recent years over the war in Syria, Turkey's accession to the EU, human rights abuses by Ankara, Europe's failure to support Turkey during the coup attempt, and rising Islamophobia in Europe. The coup was followed by a crackdown on members of the bureaucracy, judiciary, armed forces, police, media and academia, with more than 130,000 people dismissed from their jobs or arrested.

Last month Mr Erdogan was re-elected with 53% of the vote. A senior adviser to Erdogan later said that governors would still be appointed for a five-year term.

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