Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Tayyip Erdogan sworn in as Turkey's first executive president

Tayyip Erdogan sworn in as Turkey's first executive president

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been inaugurated as Turkey's first executive president - following snap elections last month. The lira has also fallen by a fifth in value against the dollar this year. Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for 15 years, says the powerful new executive presidency is vital to drive economic growth, ensure security after a failed 2016 military coup and safeguard the country from conflict in Syria and Iraq. For some, it is the coronation of a new Turkey. "We are leaving behind the system that has in the past cost our country a heavy price in political and economic chaos". In what appeared to be the final emergency decree issued just one day before the inauguration, 18,632 public sector employees were ordered dismissed, including thousands of soldiers and police officers. Armed forces chief of staff Hulusi Akar was named defence minister.

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.

"We are embarking on this road by using this opportunity as best we can for a strong parliament, strong government and strong Turkey", he said. 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.

Under the changes, the post of prime minister will be scrapped, and Erdogan will select his own cabinet and regulate ministries and remove civil servants, all without parliamentary approval.

Its commentator Asli Aydintasbas wrote: "I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that we entered a "second republic" era", after the republic set up by Turkey's secular founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

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".

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President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated his Turkish counterpart, Tayyep Erdogan, on his re-election and said he looked forward to the strengthening of relations between the two countries.

A ceremony at the presidential palace that will follow later on Monday was scheduled to be attended by dozens of foreign leaders and dignitaries, including Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. "In other words, Turkey will be an institutionalized autocracy".

Under the new system, the counting of terms starts afresh, which means he starts his first five-year term on Monday. Erdoĝan has repeatedly clashed with strategic allies such as the United States and the European Union in recent years over the war in Syria, Turkey's accession to the EU, human rights abuses by Ankara, Europe's failure to support Turkey during the coup attempt, and rising Islamophobia in Europe.

"If we see market-friendly names being appointed (to the cabinet) we might see an even more positive response for the lira and the opposite is true as well", said Inan Demir, senior emerging markets economist at Nomura International.

On Saturday he also said he would tackle high interest rates, inflation and a wide current account deficit.

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