Sunday,21 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1401, (12 - 18 July 2018)
Sunday,21 April, 2019
Issue 1401, (12 - 18 July 2018)

Ahram Weekly


Al-Ahram Weekly

“We as Turkey, and the Turkish nation, are making a new start here in your presence,” said Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his speech during a lavish party at the presidential palace in Ankara at an official ceremony inaugurating his second term in office.

Erdogan, leader of the conservative AKP (Justice and Development Party), was taking the oath of office for his new term with too much control. After the ceremony, Erdogan addressed a crowd of fellow AKP members and foreign leaders, including the Emir of Qatar and the Russian prime minister. Following a successful referendum last year which transformed Turkey’s political system from one parliamentary based into an executive presidency, Erdogan is set to assume much greater powers than he had before. Not only has the position of prime minister been abolished, but Erdogan is now solely responsible for the appointment of ministers and officials, and has the ability to issue immediately legally binding presidential decrees.

Erdogan praised this political transformation, saying the decision was done “with the free will of our nation” and that “the presidential government system was not coercive but a specific choice”.

However, many believe that this marks the beginning of one-man rule in Turkey. In the immediate buildup to Erdogan being sworn in came the latest purge of internal dissenters Sunday. Around 18,000 public sector workers, predominantly from the army and police but also a number of academics, were fired from their positions in preparation of the anticipated lifting of the now two-year long state of emergency.

The weekend also saw the ramping up of state censorship with the forced shutdown of a TV channel and three non-governmental newspapers.

Erdogan has since announced his new cabinet, which has been reduced to 16 members, having scrapped departments like the Ministry of European Affairs.

The choice of Erdogan’s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, as finance minister has proved the most controversial appointment. In the face of mounting public debt and rapid inflation after years of unprecedented government spending in massive infrastructure projects, the news led to international concern that Turkey would continue on its unsustainable and unorthodox economic trajectory. (photo: AP)

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