More than 125,000 people sacked a day before swearing ceremony
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has assured his people for delivering improvement in “every” area under his new term as more powerful executive presidency after recent elections.
Speaking after taking oath as country’s first executive president, Erdogan said, “In the new era, Turkey will improve in every field, including democracy, fundamental rights, freedoms, economy and large investments.”
He further said, “Turkey is leaving behind a system which cost the country politically, socially, economically. We will try to be worthy of our nation, aware that we are not only of our supporters, but all 81 million Turkish citizens.”
Under the modified constitution 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 obtaining parliamentary nod.
He also enjoys power to dissolve parliament, issue executive decrees and impose a state of emergency. The prime ministry will not exist in the new system.
The guests at the inaugural ceremony comprised also of 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.
Later on Monday, Erdogan announced his new 16-member cabinet, in which he named his son-in-law, Beraat Albayrak, as treasury and finance minister. He had served as the energy and natural resources minister since 2015.
Mevlut Cavusoglu was retained as foreign minister, while Suleyman Soylu remained interior minister. Other members, including Vice-President Fuat Oktay, were former bureaucrats, NGO leaders, business people and advisers. Oktay has served as an executive with national carrier Turkish Arilines.
He has repeatedly stressed that a powerful executive presidency will create a stable environment that will allow the country to take “steps for the future in a stronger manner”.
But opposition parties, Turkey’s Western allies and other critics argue that the system grants the top office major powers without the necessary checks and balances, calling it a “one-man rule”.
On Sunday, a day before the swearing ceremony, Erdogan’s government sacked another 18,000 state workers, including soldiers, police and academics in the latest purge triggered after a failed coup in 2016. A TV channel and three newspapers have also been closed.
Since the failed coup his government has sacked more than 125,000 people, sent 160,000 people in jail, introduced emergency rule and clamped down on the media and the opposition.
Erdogan’s government blames the coup attempt on the US based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who denies involvement. Gulen, based in San Francisco, used to run large number of educational institutions and media houses before the 2016 failed coup.
Last month President Erdogan was re-elected with 53% votes. He says his increased authority will empower him to address country’s economic woes and defeat Kurdish rebels. His AKP party also controls the parliament. He has been in power for more than 15 years – either as prime minister or president.