Turkey's President Erdogan cites 'Hitler's Germany' as example of an effective form of government

Mr Erdogan defends push for his own position as president to be strengthened

Adam Withnall
Friday 01 January 2016 11:26 GMT
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has defended his push for a presidential system of government by citing "Hitler's Germany" as an historic example.

The President has pushed ahead with efforts to increase the stature of his own position, despite fears it would split the country's seat of power in two.

Mr Erdoğan cut short a state visit to Saudi Arabia after the death of prominent pro-government political journalist Hasan Karakaya, and in a press conference on his return to Turkey was asked if he thought a presidential system would be possible while maintaining the unitary structure of the state.

According to the T24 news portal, he replied: "Yes. There is nothing to say that you can't have a presidential system in a unitary state.

"There are already some examples in the world today, and also some from the past. You see it when you look at Hitler's Germany. Later you see the example again in various other counties."

In November, Mr Erdoğan's AKP party won a decisive victory in the Turkish parliamentary elections, cementing his grip on power.

Despite his position theoretically making him above the country's party politics, he clearly played a key role in AKP's success and state broadcasters gave little airtime to any of his opponents.

He has previously suggested Turkey already operates under a de facto presidential system, and said his constitutional reforms would only "finalise" the change.

A senior Turkish official said that Mr Erdogan had meant to highlight Nazi Germany as an example of how not to implement such a system. "There are good and poor examples of presidential systems and the important thing is to put checks and balances in place," the official told The Independent. "Nazi Germany, lacking proper institutional arrangements, was obviously one of the most disgraceful examples in history. That's his point."

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