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Erdogan assumes new presidential powers, tightening control over Turkey
World | politics | 12:13, 09 July 2018 | 1063

AKIPRESS.COM - Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan will fulfill a long-held ambition on Monday when he is sworn in as president with sweeping new powers over a country he has dominated and reshaped during his 15-year rule, Reuters reported. 

Launching the executive presidency which he fought hard to secure, Erdogan will also name a streamlined cabinet he says will push for growth to make Turkey one of the world’s biggest economies.

Erdogan narrowly won a referendum last year to replace his country’s parliamentary democracy with a system featuring an all-powerful presidency, and followed that with a hard-fought election victory last month to the newly strengthened post.

He says the changes, the biggest overhaul of governance since the modern Turkish republic was founded from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire almost a century ago, are needed to drive Turkey’s economic growth and guarantee its security.

His supporters see them as just reward for a leader who has put Islamist values at the core of public life, championed the pious working classes and built airports, hospitals and schools.

“Turkey is entering a new era with the presidential oath ceremony on Monday,” Erdogan told his ruling AK Party at the weekend. “With the power granted to us by the new presidential system, we will get quicker and stronger results.”

Opponents say the new powers mark a lurch to authoritarianism, accusing Erdogan of eroding the secular institutions set up by modern Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and driving it further from Western values on democracy and free speech.

On the eve of Monday’s inauguration authorities dismissed more than 18,000 state employees - most of them from the police and army - in what the government said would be the final decree under emergency rule imposed following a failed 2016 coup.

More than 150,000 state employees have lost their jobs in the crackdown following the coup attempt, and Turkey’s interior minister said in April some 77,000 have been formally charged and kept in jail during their trials.

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