Tayyip Erdogan inaugurates Turkey's powerful executive presidency

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan leaves his seat to address members of parliament from his ruling party in Ankara Turkey

Erdogan will this week immediately turn to foreign policy, visiting northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan, followed by more challenging encounters at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels where he will meet US President Donald Trump and other leaders.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by his wife Emine Erdogan, greets his supporters as he drives to the parliament to take the oath of office for a new presidential term.

Mr Erdogan has largely ruled by fiat since 2016, when he imposed a state of emergency on the country in response to a failed coup attempt against him.

The introduction of the new presidential system marks the biggest overhaul of governance since the Turkish republic was established on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire almost a century ago.

Erdogan narrowly won a referendum a year ago 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.

On the eve of Monday's inauguration authorities dismissed more than 18,000 state employees - a lot 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. The issue continues to polarise public opinion in Turkey.

"A partisan one-man regime starts officially today", said the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper.

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.

"As president, I swear upon my honor and integrity, before the great Turkish nation and history, to work with all my power to protect and exalt the glory and honor of the Republic of Turkey", Erdogan said to the parliament while taking the oath of office.

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The president now sits at the top of a vertical power structure marked by a slimmed-down government with 16 ministries instead of 26 and multiple bodies reporting to him.

In one of the most significant changes, the European Union affairs ministry, set up in 2011 to oversee Turkey's faltering bid to join the bloc, is being subsumed into the foreign ministry.

The transition ceremony was overshadowed by a deadly train derailment in northwest Turkey on Sunday that killed 24 people and injured hundreds.

In a tweet, Maduro hailed Erdogan as a "friend of Venezuela and leader of the new multi-polar world". However, major Western leaders would not be in attendance, according to Reuters.

Turkish Presidential Press Secretary Ibrahim Kalin. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu remained in his post.

Turkey also faces a widening current account deficit making it reliant on weak foreign investment to plug the gap.

After winning 52.9 percent of the vote in Turkey's presidential election two weeks ago, Erdogan was granted the ability to call additional elections, appoint judges without parliamentary approval, dissolve Parliament, and issue decrees that had previously been reserved for states of emergency.

His Justice and Development (AK) party and its ally the Nationalist Action party (MHP) hold a majority in the legislature.



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