Offbeat: Turkey 'entering era of one-man rule' - - PressFrom - US
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Offbeat Turkey 'entering era of one-man rule'

15:46  25 june  2018
15:46  25 june  2018 Source:   bbc.com

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Women dance under election banners of the HDP in the mainly-Kurdish city of Diyarbakir: Kurds in Diyarbakir celebrated the HDP's result© AFP Kurds in Diyarbakir celebrated the HDP's result

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is taking on extensive new executive powers following his outright election victory in Sunday's poll.

Parliament has been weakened and the post of prime minister abolished, as measures approved in a controversial referendum last year take effect.

Defeated opposition candidate Muharrem Ince said Turkey was now entering a dangerous period of "one-man rule".

Mr Erdogan polled nearly 53% in the most fiercely fought election in years.

Mr Ince received just 31%, despite a lively campaign attracting huge crowds.

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Turkey ' entering era of one - man rule '. The Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) allege that the unusual voter records But one official from the AK Party said the supposed electoral irregularities were in fact designed to hurt the ruling party, not help it, and that

Meanwhile, Turkey ’s bid for European Union membership, which gained momentum during Erdogan’s first term, is now in the deep freeze That window appears to have closed, as Erdogan becomes the first Turkish president to exercise the new powers. A man holds a flag while traveling in an vehicle

Mr Erdogan has presided over a strong economy and built up a solid support base by investing in healthcare, education and infrastructure.

But the 64-year-old has also polarised opinion, cracking down on opponents and putting some 160,000 people in jail.

Congratulations have come in from around the world, though some Western leaders have been slow to react. Russian President Vladimir Putin talked of Mr Erdogan's "great political authority and mass support".

Turkey crackdown in numbers© BBC Turkey crackdown in numbers

What do the new powers mean?

In his victory speech to supporters early on Monday morning, Mr Erdogan vowed to bring the new presidential system into being "rapidly".

The constitutional changes were endorsed in a tight referendum last year by 51% of voters.

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The first day of Turkey ’s new future under an imperial presidency began with a nation deeply divided and a triumphant Recep Tayyip Erdogan describing plans for social and He warned that the country was entering a dangerous period of one - man rule which has “severed ties with democratic values”.

He expressed concern that Turkey is “not going to be a society governed by institutions and rules ”. The country was officially under emergency rule during the campaign The results mark “the last step towards Turkey ’s transformation into a one - man regime”, political-risk analyst Wolfango Piccoli said.

They include giving the president new powers to:

  • directly appoint top public officials, including ministers and vice-presidents
  • intervene in the country's legal system
  • impose a state of emergency
Turkey parliamentary results as reported by state-run news agency Anadolu: AK Party 42%; CHP 23%; HDP 12%; MHP 11%; Iyi 10%© BBC Turkey parliamentary results as reported by state-run news agency Anadolu: AK Party 42%; CHP 23%; HDP 12%; MHP 11%; Iyi 10%

Some critics argue that Turkey's new system lacks the checks and balances of other executive presidencies like France or the US.

Mr Erdogan maintains his increased authority will empower him to address Turkey's economic woes and defeat Kurdish rebels in the country's south-east.

Mr Erdogan was prime minister for 11 years before becoming president in 2014. Under the new constitution, he could stand for a third term when his second finishes in 2023, meaning he could potentially hold power until 2028.

'Progressive values are still here'

By Mark Lowen, BBC Turkey correspondent

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is taking on extensive new executive powers following his outright election victory in Sunday's poll. Defeated opposition candidate Muharrem Ince said Turkey was now entering a dangerous period of " one - man rule ". Mr Erdogan polled nearly 53% in the most

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Despite 90% of the media being pro-government and largely shunning the opposition, the president's posters and flags dwarfing any challenge on the streets, the election being held under a state of emergency curtailing protests, and critical journalists and academics being jailed or forced into exile, Mr Erdogan only got half of the country behind him.

"We are living through a fascist regime", the opposition MP Selin Sayek Boke told the BBC. "But fascist regimes don't usually win elections with 53%, they win with 90%. So this shows that progressive values are still here and can rise up."

For now, though, this is Mr Erdogan's time. With his sweeping new powers, scrapping the post of prime minister and able to choose ministers and most senior judges, he becomes Turkey's most powerful leader since its founding father Ataturk.

He'll now hope to lead the country at least until 2023, a hundred years since Ataturk's creation. And a dejected opposition will have to pick itself up and wonder again if, and how, he can be beaten.

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How did the opposition react?

Mr Ince, from the Republican People's Party (CHP), said the election was unfair from its declaration to the announcement of the results.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan, modern Turkey 's longest-serving ruler, won a mandate to govern with sweeping new powers after a double victory in The results mark "the last step towards Turkey 's transformation into a one - man regime", Wolfango Piccoli, co-president of Teneo Intelligence in

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Erdogan supporters celebrate outside the AK party headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey: Supporters of Erdogan and the AK Party took to Istanbul's streets to celebrate© Getty Images Supporters of Erdogan and the AK Party took to Istanbul's streets to celebrate

"The new regime that takes effect from today is a major danger for Turkey... We have now fully adopted a regime of one-man rule," he told journalists at a post-election news conference.

But he said that there was no significant difference between official results and his party's figures, and therefore he would accept the outcome.

There were another four candidates on the presidential ballot, all of whom fell below 10% of the vote.

Turkey presidential result as reported by state-run news agency Anadolu: Erdogan 52.7%; Ince 30.7%; Demirtas 8.4% Aksener: 7.3%© BBC Turkey presidential result as reported by state-run news agency Anadolu: Erdogan 52.7%; Ince 30.7%; Demirtas 8.4% Aksener: 7.3%

How was the election conducted?

Security was tight at polling stations. Ahead of the vote, concerns had been raised about potential voter intimidation and electoral fraud.

Voter turnout was high at almost 87%, the state broadcaster reported.

Rights activists have said the press is not free to report on all sides in Turkey. It has become the world's biggest jailer of journalists under Mr Erdogan's rule, according to monitoring groups.

Mr Erdogan has already cautioned his rivals against claiming foul play, saying: "I hope nobody will try to cast a shadow on the results and harm democracy in order to hide their own failure."

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“No one in the high ranks dared oppose this, so he did it,” said Zhang Lifan, a noted historian who said the government warned him against giving interviews. It is also a new era fraught with profound risk and guarantees little beyond the unfettered rule of the man who may well be president for life.

Turkey ’s opposition, which has vowed to reverse the constitutional changes, has billed the election as a choice between democracy and authoritarian rule . Relations between Turkey and the U.S. have been strained recently. Turkey has been angered by “An opposition win could herald a different era

In separate parliamentary elections, the governing alliance led by Mr Erdogan's AK Party (AKP) secured a majority, with 53% and about 343 seats.

The opposition CHP and its allies won only 33% (190 seats). However, the pro-Kurdish HDP re-entered parliament with 67 seats.

The party's success comes despite the fact its presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas is in a high-security prison on terror charges, which he firmly denies.

The biggest issue for voters was the economy. The Turkish lira has tanked and inflation stands at about 11%, though the economy has grown substantially in recent years.

The currency has suffered as Mr Erdogan has pressed the central bank not to raise interest rates and suggested before the poll that he might restrict its independence.

Terrorism was another key issue, as Turkey faces attacks from Kurdish militants and the jihadists of the Islamic State group.

Mr Erdogan's rivals accused him of damaging civil liberties in Turkey and spearheading a slide into authoritarian rule.

Turkey has been under a state of emergency since a failed coup in July 2016, with 107,000 public servants and soldiers dismissed from their jobs. More than 50,000 people have been imprisoned pending trial since the uprising.

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<p>President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will assume sweeping powers granted under a new constitution, a presidential source said.</p>Load Error

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