Erdogan takes oath of office as Turkey's first executive president

Marco Green
July 9, 2018

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was "entering a new era" as he was sworn in as the country's first executive president on Monday, giving him sweeping new powers which critics warn will lead to authoritarianism.

Erdoğan took the oath of office in a ceremony in the Grand National Assembly, the culmination of almost a decade of political activism to transform the country's parliamentary democracy into a presidential system.

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. "With the power granted to us by the new presidential system, we will get quicker and stronger results".

The shift to a presidential system will replace the parliamentary system and eliminate the post of prime minister.

"We make a promise once more to strengthen our nation's unity and brotherhood and to continue making our country great and glorifying our state", Erdoğan said after visiting the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Turkish republic's founder, in the capital, Ankara. During the ceremony, Erdogan pledged to lift the state of emergency in place since the failed mid-July coup in 20-16.

The currency has been battered by concern about Erdogan's drive for lower interest rates and comments he made in May saying he planned to take greater control of the economy after the June 24 elections.

State television channel TRT broadcast Erdogan's described Monday's swearing-in as the "first day of the new Turkey".

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 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.

Under his leadership, Ankara started accession talks with the European Union, which stalled amid EU criticism of human rights in Turkey.

A powerful campaigner, he is Turkey's most successful and divisive leader in recent history. Erdogan has prevailed in a dozen local, parliamentary and presidential elections.

Inflation surged last month to more than 15 percent, its highest level in more than a decade, despite interest rate hikes of 500 basis points by the central bank since April.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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