Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan Begins New Presidential Term, Vows to Safeguard State’s Independence
Ankara, Turkey — Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was sworn in for a new presidential term on Saturday after winning re-election last weekend, extending his rule into a third decade. The ceremony took place at the parliament in Ankara and was broadcast live as Erdogan took the oath to safeguard the existence and independence of the state before the Turkish nation and history.
Erdogan’s victory in the May 28 runoff vote secured him 52.2% support, defying most opinion polls and overcoming a cost-of-living crisis that had been perceived as detrimental to his chances. As Turkey’s longest-serving leader, his new five-year mandate allows him to pursue the increasingly authoritarian policies that have polarized the country.
Following the oath-taking in parliament, a ceremony was held at the presidential palace, attended by high-level officials from 78 countries and international organizations. Among the attendees were NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, as reported by the state-run Anadolu Agency.
Later on Saturday, Erdogan is expected to announce his new cabinet, signaling a potential change in his unorthodox approach to economic policy. It is likely that former economy chief Mehmet Simsek will be included in the cabinet, indicating a shift towards greater economic orthodoxy, including potential interest rate hikes. Simsek, who served as finance minister and deputy prime minister between 2009 and 2018, was highly regarded by investors.
Erdogan, 69, first became prime minister in 2003 after his AK Party won the election, and in 2014, he became the country’s first popularly elected president. He was re-elected in 2018 after securing expanded executive powers for the presidency in a 2017 referendum.
The recent presidential election was crucial as the opposition had hoped to unseat Erdogan and reverse many of his policies, including proposing significant interest rate hikes to combat high inflation, which stood at 44% in April. In his post-election victory speech, Erdogan acknowledged that inflation was Turkey’s most urgent issue.
Economic analysts have warned that the continuation of current policies could lead to economic turmoil due to depleted foreign reserves, an expanding state-backed protected deposits scheme, and unchecked inflation expectations. The Turkish lira has experienced multiple crashes in recent years and reached new all-time lows following the election.
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