Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will take the oath of office as Turkey’s first popularly elected president today, a position that will see him as head of state for at least another five years, ‘ABC News’ reports.
Following his inauguration, Erdogan is scheduled to appoint Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, his designated successor as prime minster and loyal ally, to form a new government.
Erdogan has dominated Turkish politics for a decade and won Turkey’s first direct presidential elections on 10th August. He has indicated he wants enhance the powers of the presidency which current is a mainly ceremonial post in a bid to keep his hand on the political steering wheel.
On Wednesday, Erdogan rejected claims that Davutoglu would be a ‘yes’ man. He said the two would work “hand in hand” in achieving goals he has set for the country, which includes enacting a new constitution.
Dozens of foreign dignitaries are attending Erdogan’s inauguration ceremony, however, representation from Turkey’s key allies in the West is at a low level. The USA will be represented by it acting ambassador in Ankara. Erdogan’s image in the West has been tarnished by his increasingly authoritarian tendencies and by corruption allegations which the Turkish leader has rejected as a conspiracy to oust him from government.
Leader of Turkey’s main opposition party, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, said he would not attend the inauguration ceremony. He has accused Erdogan of violating the constitution by not stepping down as prime minister immediately after his election as president.
Erdogan “will pledge allegiance to the constitution but he will lie. I don’t want to witness that lie,” Kilicdaroglu said.