Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Erdogan to take oath as Turkey’s1st Executive President with vast powers

President Erdogan who kept his seat in the June 24 twin elections is expected to be sworn in on Monday President Erdogan who kept his seat in the June 24 twin elections is expected to be sworn in on Monday
Priscilla Morrison | 10 July, 2018, 06:23

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been sworn in for another term as president of Turkey, inaugurating a new political system that grants the leader vast powers. 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.

Erdogan narrowly won a referendum past 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.

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

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.

Parliament can ratify or reject his budget and the president needs parliamentary approval for emergency rule and decrees passed during that time.

Tweeting a video apparently showing himself driving to the airport, Maduro hailed Erdogan as a "friend of Venezuela and leader of the new multi-polar world".

He will then head to more challenging encounters at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels where he will meet with United States counterpart Donald Trump.

The changes are the result of a bitterly fought referendum in 2017, where Mr Erdogan campaigned for a Yes vote and won narrowly amid allegations of vote rigging.

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.

More news: Pompeo pushes back against North Korea's "gangster" comment

He will have sweeping new powers, including over the judiciary and the ability to rule by decree.

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.

Since taking office in 2003, first as prime minister and later as president, Erdogan has dominated Turkey, tightening his grip over the country of 81 million people as he tamed rival power centres including the military, which toppled some previous governments.

In parliamentary polls held the same day, his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) secured a majority through its alliance with the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Those attending the ceremony at the presidential palace on Monday evening will include Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, in a new sign of the warm ties between Ankara and Moscow.

Among 22 heads of state attending will be Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, regarded with disdain by Washington but an ally of Erdogan, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

The most intense attention will focus on who will be responsible for foreign policy and the economy. Inflation surged last month above 15 percent, its highest level in more than a decade, even though the central bank has raised interest rates by 5 percentage points since April.

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

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