Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan believes the Third Reich presidency of Adolf Hitler is a good example of the kind of executive power he would like to have.
In an interview late Thursday with reporters, Erdogan was asked if it is possible his proposed plan to transform the president from a ceremonial office to the role of chief executive could work without disrupting Turkeys unitary political structure.
“There are already examples in the world. You can see it when you look at Hitler’s Germany,” the head of state replied, according to Reuters. “There are later examples in various other countries.”
Erdogan and his ruling AK Party are looking to change Turkey’s constitution after winning back the majority in parliament in last November’s elections. Opposing parties would also like to revise the constitution, but they do not support the plan to create a more powerful presidency as they feel it would potentially lead to the office becoming too authoritarian.
Under the system, the president would have have both executive and legislative functions, and he could dissolve parliament and veto their legislation. Additionally, parliamentary and presidential elections would be held at the same time, which is believed to be a move to ensure the same party controls both branches.Some critics and observers see the plan as an attempt by Erdogan to take Turkey down the path to dictatorship. As one prominent Turkish constitutional scholar told Al-Monitor, the idea would bring about “one-man rule with no mechanism of checks and balances.”
A member of Erdogan’s party did nothing to allay those concerns in declaring the constitutional change would turn the current president into a “caliph” in an October speech.