Recep Tayyip Erdogen, Turkey’s president for 15 years, took the oath of office on Monday for a new term, which comes with a whole new set of powers.
The new presidential term comes with constitutional changes to presidential powers Erdogan won in a referendum last year. He said the changes are needed for economic growth.
The reforms eliminate the prime minister post and allow Erdogan to select his own cabinet without parliamentiary approval.
“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 told parliament as he took the oath Monday.
Erdogan has ruled mostly by fiat since 2016 when he imposed a state of emergency after surviving a failed military coup. He promised to lift emergency conditions later this month, but issued two more orders prior to his swearing in.
The first was to dismiss 18,000 state employees, mostly from the police and army. The second was to remove term limits for the governor of Turkey’s central bank.
More than 150,000 state employees have lost jobs since the 2016 coup attempt.
“Turkey is entering a new era with the presidential oath ceremony on Monday,” Erdogan told his ruling AKP party at the ceremony. “With the power granted to us by the new presidential system, we will get quicker and stronger results.”
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attended the ceremony with other leaders, including Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
By Sommer Brokaw