Turkey's Erdogan sworn in with new powers, appoints son-in-law as finance minister

Evarado Alatorre
Julio 11, 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was sworn in on Monday under a new governing system that grants him sweeping executive powers, which critics say give him far too much control. He defeated a coalition of opposition parties in a snap election last month to hold onto power.

Supporters of Turkey's President and ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan celebrate outside the party headquarters in Istanbul, June 24, 2018.

"We, as Turkey and as the Turkish people, are making a new start here today", Erdogan said in an address late on Monday.

The president has promised to lift the emergency conditions later this month but in the hours before his swearing in he used to issue two more edicts. "Turkey is leaving behind a system which cost the country politically, socially and economically".

The Turkish president also kept Mevlut Cavusoglu in place as foreign minister and named Fuat Oktay, a former Turkish Airlines executive, as vice president.

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.

Just as Ataturk transformed an impoverished nation at the eastern edge of Europe into a secular, Western-facing republic, Erdogan has fought to bring Islamic values back into public life and lift millions of pious Turks-long ostracised by the secular elite-out of poverty.

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President Erdogan invited President Lungu along with Gabonese President Ali Bongo, Jose Mario Vaz of Guinea Bissau and Equatorial Guinea President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema to his inauguration.

"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".

State news agency Anadolu said Erdogan's inauguration celebration was attended by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court. Those times have already arrived, with the economic boom he's presided over threatening to turn into a bust, and a crackdown on dissent gaining new momentum.

After news emerged of the appointment of Mr Erdogan's son-in-law, the Turkish lira lost more than 3% of its value. At the center of the quarrel is the president's demand for a greater say over monetary policy and his insistence - against economic orthodoxy - that interest rates need to be lowered to tamp down inflation that's more than triple the government's 5 percent target. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member Turkey's relations with its Western allies have been strained by disputes with the United States over military strategy in Syria and by European Union criticism of Ankara's large-scale purges of state institutions, armed forces, police and media following the failed coup.

The markets will keep a close eye on economic appointments, keen to see a steady hand at the helm in a fast-growing economy dogged by double-digit inflation and a widening current account deficit. An adviser to Erdogan later said that the governor's term would remain at five years.

Separately on Tuesday, a president decree carried by the Turkish Official Gazette appointed ground forces Commander General Yasar Guler as the new chief of the general staff, replacing Akar.

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