Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

President Erdogan heralds Turkey's 'fresh start'

President Erdogan heralds Turkey's 'fresh start'

Erdogan late Monday afternoon took the presidential oath of office to become the Republic of Turkey's first president under its new governmental system. 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.

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

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

Speaking to a host of Turkish and foreign dignitaries at the presidential complex in the capital Ankara, Erdogan said: "With a presidential system of government, we are moving to a new system of government which is far beyond our nearly 150-year-quest for democracy and what we have experienced through the history of our 95-year-old republic".

Presidential aide Ibrahim Kalin said Erdogan would visit Ataturk's mausoleum following the swearing-in ceremony.

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.

"Turkey is entering a new era with the presidential oath ceremony on Monday", Mr Erdogan told members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) ahead of the swearing in.

Under the new system, Erdogan leads the state's executive branch and has the right to appoint and dismiss vice-presidents, a newly introduced position, as well as ministers, high-level officials and senior judges - without parliamentary approval. Newly elected lawmakers were sworn in at parliament on Saturday.

No major Western leader featured on a list of 50 presidents, prime ministers and other high-ranking guests published by state news agency Anadolu.

In a signal of those differences, 22 heads of state were scheduled to attend the inauguration, but none from western powers such as the US, Germany, France or the UK.

The most intense attention will focus on who will be responsible for foreign policy and the economy.

Erdogan and the media: Do most Turks even care?

His closest rival, Muharrem Ince of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), managed 30.6pc, but the party is now locked in internal battles over its future leadership and direction.

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