Turkey has officially switched to an executive presidential system after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took the oath of office on July 9. The old/new President took his oath in the Parliament following the elections on 24. June where he won 52% of the votes.
In his oath, 64-year-old Erdogan said that he will protect the principles Turkish Republic in the sense he will not turn it into an Islamic state, and if I am not wrong I hear he said that he will respect human rights.
“”As president, I swear upon my honour and integrity, before the great Turkish nation and history, to work with all my power to protect and exalt the glory and honour of the Republic of Turkey and fulfil the duties I have taken on with impartiality,” he said among others.
Lawmakers from the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) stood up, as is customary, during Erdogan’s swearing-in, while opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Good (IYI) Party lawmakers did not.
Also, CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu did not attend the ceremony.
After Erdogan’s oath, Turkish political system changed as stipulated by the 18-article constitutional amendment which was approved by the April 16, 2017 referendum.
After the oath ceremony in the Parliament, Erdogan visited Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
“At the dawn of this important turning point of our republic and democracy, as the 12th president of Turkey and the first president of the new presidential governmental system, I promise to strengthen our nation’s unity and fraternity, to develop our country and to elevate our state,” Erdogan said at Anıtkabir.
“We are determined to reach the targets of the republic that you (Mustafa Kemal Atatürk) and your friends have founded and that is entrusted to us by future generation, in its 100th year,” he added.
The limousine President Erdogan used to move around Ankara was so fully covered with precious flowers that he could hardly see his subjects. On their part, the had place themselves along the road and threw flowers at his car.
From Anitkabir, Erdogan moved to the Presidential Palace for the inauguration ceremony.
Some 10,000 people have been invited to attend the big fiesta, among them 22 heads of state and 28 prime ministers and speakers of parliament.
Attending heads of state include the presidents of Pakistan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, Guinea, Zambia, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Somalia, Mauritania, Gabon, Chad, Djibouti, Venezuela as well as the Emir of Qatar.
The European Union is represented by Migration Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos.
Other EU institutions as well as the EU member states kept low profile and did not send top representatives.
The President of Turkey and the First Lady entering the inauguration ceremony.
It is a very important day for Turkey,” he said during the inauguration ceremony. And gave a hint about the foreign policy he plans to follow, that is to keep his expansionism efforts even if this is to (re)gain influence in former territories of the Ottoman Empire. He said
“There are no borders for our hearts.”
Each guest will be given ceremonial 1 Turkish lira coin minted for the occasion.
Political and religious representatives from the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia attend the ceremony.
The president will also host a dinner in honour of attending heads of states, and selected guests.
Structural changes of the State
The “presidential governmental system” has abolished the Prime Ministry and transferred all executive authority of the Prime Ministry office to the president, who will have sweeping powers, from appointing state officials to declaring state of emergency by presidential decrees, lacking considerable monitoring by parliament.
The opposition has, however, long criticized the new system and said it will harm the democratic principle of the separation of powers. AKP’s spokesperson Mahir Ünal on July 9 slammed the criticisms, saying the new system, on the contrary, “strengthens the separation of powers.”
On July 9, before his oath, Erdogan issued two extensive decrees which abolished some existing ministries, while transferring their authorities to newly-formed ministries and related institutions, making them fall under the command of the president. The decree changes the structural organization of the state, redefining the hierarchical scheme.
With the changes, the Labor, Social Services and Family Ministry, Industry and Technology Ministry, Commerce Ministry, Agriculture and Forest Ministry, Youth and Sports Ministry, and Treasury and Finance Ministry were formed, while the EU Affairs Ministry and Foreign Ministry have merged under the Foreign Ministry.
Erdogan is due to announce his new Cabinet under Turkey’s presidential system at 9.30 p.m. (GMT1830).
Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be president for the next five years.