Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has moved tp bring further powers to the executive after winning Sunday’s hotly contested election.
The constitutional changes will weaken the power of parliament, abolish the role of prime minister, and give the president more powers to intervene in the judicial system – a system endorsed in a tight referendum last year.
Opposition candidate Muharrem Ince won 31 percent of the vote in the most fiercely fought Turkish election in years, but Erdogan won the poll outright with 53 percent.
Erdogan has built support in recent years for presiding over a strong economy and investing heavily in infrastructure and healthcare, but his opponents accuse him of becoming a authoritarian dictator after sending around 160,000 people to jail for their opposition to his rule – branding many as “terrorists”. In his victory speech on Sunday night, Erdogan vowed to continue his fight against such “terrorists”.
Once championed by the European Union as a leader that could combine an Islamic society and a Western economy, his increasingly violent and oppressive crackdowns on opposition figures and groups has resulted in the EU dropping Turkey from its plans for continued enlargement.
Western leaders have been slow to congratulate Erdogan on his election victory, but Russian President said his electoral victory gave him “great political authority and mass support”.