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Turkey's Erdogan begins new term with expanded powers

AFP  |  Ankara 

was sworn in for his second term as today, taking on greater powers than any Turkish for decades under a new system condemned by opponents as a one-man regime.

Erdogan, who has transformed in 15 years of rule by allowing Islam a greater role in public life and boosting its international stature, took his oath in parliament for a five-year term after his June election victory.

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

The inauguration was to be followed by a lavish ceremony at his palace today evening attended by dozens of world leaders marking the transition to the new presidency system.

Erdogan will face immediate challenges posed by an imbalanced if fast-growing economy and foreign policy tensions between the West and Turkey, a NATO member.

He has also pledged to end the state of emergency that has been in place since the failed July 2016 coup and which has seen the biggest purge in the history of modern

In what appeared to be the final emergency decree issued just one day before the inauguration, 18,632 public sector employees were ordered dismissed including thousands of soldiers and police officers.

Erdogan will this week immediately turn to foreign policy, visiting northern and followed by more challenging encounters at a NATO summit in where he will meet his US counterpart and other leaders.

The new system, which dispenses with the office of prime minister, was agreed in a bitterly fought 2017 referendum narrowly won by the "Yes" camp. The issue is still polarising in

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

Its wrote: "I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that we entered a 'second republic' era," after the republic set up by Turkey's secular founder

But the pro-government daily Yeni Safak wrote under the headline "historic day": "One page is closing in Turkish history and a new page is opening." The 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 EU affairs ministry, set up in 2011 to oversee Turkey's faltering bid to join the bloc, is being subsumed into the foreign ministry.

now goes down in history as the 27th and final holder of the post in Turkey. He is expected to become of the new parliament.

The transition ceremony later today, to be attended by some 10,000 guests and marked by dozens of gun salutes, has been overshadowed by a deadly train derailment in on Sunday that left 24 dead.

Those attending will include Ankara's top allies from Africa, the and the former but relatively few European figures.

Russian will attend, in a new sign of the warm ties between and Moscow, as will Venezuelan Nicolas Maduro, regarded with disdain by but an ally of Erdogan.

Tweeting a video apparently showing himself driving to the airport, Maduro hailed Erdogan as a "friend of and of the new multi-polar world."

Sudan's President is on the guest list as is Sheikh of Qatar, Turkey's closest ally in the The only EU leaders are set to be Bulgarian President and Hungary's strongman

The new cabinet, due to be announced at 1830 GMT, is expected to have a different look, with pro-government Hurriyet saying that it was set to "surprise" with figures from outside the ruling

could in theory continue in his job but reports have said Erdogan may choose his spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, or even to succeed him.

The markets will keep a close eye on economic appointments, keen to see a steady hand at the helm in a fast-growing economy dogged by double-digit inflation and a widening current account deficit.

Erdogan, who first came to power as in 2003, won an outright victory in June 24 polls, defeating his closest rival, of the main opposition Republican (CHP) which is now locked in internal battles over its future direction.

The AKP failed to win a majority in legislative elections and will need support from its allies in the right-wing (MHP) who could push it into more hardline policies.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, July 09 2018. 20:30 IST