ISTANBUL – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was sworn in Monday under a new governing system that grants him sweeping executive powers, which critics say give him far too much control.
A former Istanbul mayor, Erdogan has been at the helm of Turkey since 2003 as prime minister and then the first directly elected president since 2014.
Speaking at his sprawling presidential compound in Ankara, Erdogan unveiled the rebranded presidency “on this most important day of our country.”
He won last month’s election with 52.9 percent of the vote, ushered in the executive presidency that ends parliamentary governance and boosts the powers of the formerly ceremonial presidency.
Erdogan said the executive presidency would put behind a “system that heavily cost our country through political, social and economic chaos.”
He argued that the new structure would bring stability and efficiency and said, “is not forced but rather a sagacious choice that history has led us to.” Turkey narrowly approved the executive presidency in a contentious referendum last year.
Abolishing the post of prime minister, the president will now form the government, appoint ministers, vice presidents and high-level bureaucrats, issue decrees, prepare the budget and has the power to impose a state of emergency. Parliament can ratify or reject his budget and the president needs parliamentary approval for emergency rule and decrees passed during that time.
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. Critics say the new system undermines impartiality and could lead to one-man rule with limited checks and balances.
Crowds cheered Erdogan along his convoy’s route as he made his way to the inauguration ceremony. The presidency tweeted with the hashtag (hash)NewEraWithErdogan. A special one lira coin (less than 25 U.S. cents) was minted for guests with the image of the presidential palace, dated July 9, 2018.
The now defunct government of Prime Minister Binali Yildirim issued a last-minute decree revamping ministries to conform to the new executive presidency structure. Erdogan is expected to announce his Cabinet on Monday evening.
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