Turkey's Erdogan begins new term with enhanced powers

Turkey's Erdogan begins new term with enhanced powers

Turkey's Erdogan begins new term with enhanced powers

The coronation of the presidential office as the nexus of political power takes place at a critical juncture. Some opposition parliamentarians remained seated while others stood without applauding.

Opponents say the move marks 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 of democracy and free speech. The lira, which gained more than 1 percent earlier on Monday to 4.51 against the dollar, briefly fell back sharply after a government decree removed a clause stipulating a five-year term for the central bank governor. The 64-year-old president, who has governed since 2003, won a mandate in the June 24 elections to govern with sweeping new powers on the platform that a powerful presidential office would ensure stability in turbulent times.

"We are now adopting a model that is way beyond our 150-year-old pursuit of democracy and our 95-year-long experience of a republic", Erdogan said. But he's also overseen a strong economy and he has built up considerable support across the country.

The post of prime minister has been scrapped and the president will now be able to select his own cabinet, regulate ministries and remove civil servants, all without parliamentary approval.

But Erdogan faces immediate challenges posed by Ankara's faltering bid to join the European Union and tensions between the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally. It later showed him visiting Ataturk's mausoleum in the capital, Ankara.

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"I swear upon my honor before the great Turkish nation that I will work impartially to fulfill the duty I have taken on", Erdogan said in his oath.

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated his Turkish counterpart, Tayyep Erdogan, on his re-election and said he looked forward to the strengthening of relations between the two countries.

"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".

The lira TRYTOM=D3, which has lost almost a fifth of its value against the dollar this year, dropped almost 3 percent to 4.74 to the USA currency after the cabinet announcement. "In other words, Turkey will be an institutionalized autocracy". The selection of Berat Albayrak, his son-in-law, as treasury minister had an instant effect on the Turkish lira, which fell by 2.5 per cent within minutes as investors who were expecting an experienced economist sold Turkish stocks.

In the aftermath of the coup, Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military alliance and still nominally a candidate to join the European Union, has detained some 160,000 people, jailed journalists and shut down dozens of media outlets.

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The announcement - and the absence of familiar, market-friendly ministers from the cabinet - helped to send the lira sharply lower.

Erdogan has described high interest rates as "the mother and father of all evil", and said in May he would expect to wield greater economic control after the election.

There are 16 ministers in Erdogan's streamlined new cabinet, which Erdogan has said will be more efficient and act faster.

Erdogan was comfortably re-elected last month with 52.6 percent of the vote.

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