Friday, 21 September, 2018

Erdogan starts presidential rule, names son-in-law Turkish finance minister

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan greets members of parliament from his ruling AK Party during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara Turkey Erdoğan sworn in as Turkish president with enhanced powers
Ginger Lawrence | 12 July, 2018, 13:42

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.

Erdogan's re-election in the June 24 polls marked Turkey's transition to an executive presidential system of government, abolishing the prime minister's post, among other changes. On Monday, he appointed his son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, to head a newly formed treasury and finance ministry, sidelining previous office holders in the process. Investors have previously been anxious about the independence of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he wanted to take more responsibility in his country's monetary policy. Albayrak, 40, previously served as energy minister and, before that, led a company seen as close to the government.

Next Sunday is the second anniversary of a failed coup attempt in which 250 people were killed and 1,400 wounded. As head of the executive branch, Erodgan will have the power to issue decrees with the force of law, prepare the budget subject to parliament's approval, dissolve parliament and call for new presidential and parliamentary elections, and appoint high-level officials, including ministers and some top judges.

The chief of the guard of honor reported to the Turkish president.

Critics say the new system amounts to one-man rule with few checks and balances.

"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".

Mr Erdogan took oath of office to become the first Turkish President under the new presidential system of Government. The issue is still polarizing in Turkey.

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Erdgoan has said he will announce the cabinet on Monday night, promising to make appointments from outside parliament and to slim down his ministerial team to 16 from more than 20.

Erdogan will face immediate and major challenges in his second term, posed by an imbalanced if fast-growing economy and foreign policy tensions between the West and Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member.

The introduction of the new presidential system marks the biggest overhaul of governance since the republic was established on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire almost a century ago.

He has also pledged to end the state of emergency that has been in place since the failed July 2016 coup and which has seen the biggest purge in the history of modern Turkey.

Meanwhile Mevlut Cavusoglu remains in his post as foreign minister.

Turkey is expected to adopt an increasingly nationalistic line in its foreign policy with the conservative and Islamic-leaning AKP and the nationalist MHP in parliament.