Tuesday, 17 July, 2018


Tayyip Erdogan sworn in as Turkey's first executive president

Bennie Garza | 11 July, 2018, 19:25

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to be sworn in for his second term as head of the state on Monday, taking on greater powers than any Turkish leader for decades under a new system condemned by opponents as autocratic.

Mr Erdogan, who was re-elected last month, has vowed to "propel our country forward" with his sweeping new powers.

Assuming the new executive presidency he has long fought to establish, Erdogan earlier took the oath of office in parliament before addressing worldwide leaders gathered at the presidential palace in Ankara.

Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Saturday nominated Yildirim as parliament speaker, an appointment likely to be rubber-stamped by the chamber on Thursday.

Marc Pierini, a former European Union ambassador to Turkey and visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe, said Erdogan's new powers effectively make him a "super-executive president".

On the eve of Monday's inauguration authorities dismissed more than 18,000 state employees - majority 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 president has promised to lift the emergency conditions later this month but in the hours before his swearing in he used to issue two more edicts.

The Turkish strongman, 64, who first came to power as prime minister in 2003, won the June 24 elections, steering Turkey's transition to an executive presidential system approved in a 2017 referendum. 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.

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

The lira, which is down some 16 percent so far this year and has been battered by concern about Erdogan's drive for lower interest rates, firmed to 4.5160 against the dollar by 1016 GMT, its highest since mid-June. But he's also overseen a strong economy and he has built up considerable support across the country.

"We are leaving behind the system that has in the past cost our country a heavy price in political and economic chaos", 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".

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was present, in a new sign of the warm ties between Ankara and Moscow, as was Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, regarded with disdain by Washington but an ally of Erdogan.

No major Western leader featured on a list of 50 presidents, prime ministers and other high-ranking guests.

Erdogan will this week immediately turn to foreign policy, visiting northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan, followed by more challenging encounters at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels where he will meet US President Donald Trump and other leaders. "For the cabinet appointments in the past several years, the most important issue has been the presence of the current deputy prime minister, Mehmet Simsek", said Inan Demir, a senior economist at Nomura International. He was taken hostage during the night of the failed military coup in July 2016, which was blamed on US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen. An adviser to Erdogan later said that the governor's term would remain at five years.

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