Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) wants to give himself powers similar to Adolf Hitler

Turkey’s president says all he wants is same powers as Hitler

In a world first, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan uses Hitler’s Germany as a positive role model for his constitutional reforms

Photo: Rex/AP

 

Turkey’s controversial President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sparked mockery and condemnation by defending new powers he wants to give himself as being similar to Adolf Hitler’s.

In a statement that surprised even his critics, Mr Erdogan responded to arguments that putting political power in the hands of the presidency would not work in a “unitary state”.

He said there were other examples of its being successful. “There are already examples in the world,” he said.

“You can see it when you look at Hitler’s Germany. There are later examples in various other countries.”

The Turkish presidency at present is largely ceremonial, with most powers in the hands of the prime minister. However, when he was prevented constitutionally from standing as prime minister for a fourth election last year, Mr Erdogan stood for the presidency instead, and has used the position to continue his aggressive Islamist agenda.

In the meantime, he has been trying to change the constitution to formalise the situation.

Local critics used his words to argue he was becoming dictatorial, but in Israel they will be seen as another example of political insensitivity. Mr Erdogan has clashed with Israel on a number of occasions over his perceived support for Islamist, anti-Israel groups.

Online, Turks, bloggers and Middle East analysts all took to Twitter to express their astonishment.

Eliot Higgins, who has achieved celebrity status for his analysis of weapons usage in the Syrian war, said Mr Erdogan had achieved a first by managing to “Godwin” himself. “Godwin’s Law” is a joke rule of the internet which states that anyone who compares someone else to Hitler in an online argument has lost.

 

Turkey coup attempt: State of emergency announced


Turkey’s president has declared a state of emergency for three months following Friday night’s failed army coup.

Speaking at the presidential palace in Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed that “all the viruses within the armed forces will be cleansed”.

The declaration could be used to extend the detention of nearly 10,000 people rounded up since the failed coup.

More than 600 schools have been closed and thousands of state workers sacked in a crackdown by the president.

“This measure is in no way against democracy, the law and freedoms,” said Mr Erdogan after announcing the state of emergency.

He praised those who were killed fighting against the coup as “martyrs”. Some 246 people were killed resisting the attempted coup, according to the government.

Mr Erdogan was speaking after holding meetings of Turkey’s national security council and the cabinet in the capital.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier responded to Mr Erdogan’s speech by urging the Turkish government to maintain both the rule of law and a sense of proportionality in its response to the coup attempt.

“Only provable involvement in illegal acts, not suspected political leanings, should trigger governmental action,” Mr Steinmeier said.

“It’s also critical that the declaration of emergency be the truly necessary length of time, and to end the measure as quickly as possible.”

President Erdogan speaks at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey (July 20, 2016)Image copyright: REUTERS
President Erdogan praised “heroic acts of bravery” in resisting the coup

The president has blamed the coup attempt on US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally whose followers run a worldwide network of schools.

He has called for Mr Gulen to be extradited to Turkey, but US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday that Turkey must provide hard evidence the cleric was behind the coup attempt for any extradition to take place.

Earlier, Mr Erdogan warned of further arrests and suspensions to come as Turkish authorities continued to pursue those they believed responsible for the thwarted putsch.

More than 50,000 state employees have been rounded up, sacked or suspended in the days since the coup attempt. On Wednesday, 99 top military officers were charged in connection with the events of the weekend.

Officials continued to take action against university and school employees, shutting down educational establishments, banning foreign travel for academics and forcing university heads of faculty to resign.

The government has also revoked the press credentials of 34 journalists who it alleges are connected to Mr Gulen, according to Turkish media.

Amnesty International described the authorities’ actions as “a crackdown of exceptional proportions”.

Datapic