Saturday, June 03, 2023
Recep Tayyip Erdogan was sworn in on Saturday as Turkey's president on Saturday following his re-election victory last weekend. In the coming days, he is expected to announce his new cabinet, which is anticipated to indicate a shift in his unconventional economic programme, Reuters reported.
"As president, I swear upon my honor and integrity, before the great Turkish nation ... to work with all my power to protect the existence and independence of the state ... and to fulfill my duty impartially," Erdogan said in his post-inauguration address.
Despite facing a challenging cost-of-living crisis that was believed to have affected his chances, Turkey's longest-serving leader, Erdogan, defied the predictions of most opinion polls and secured 52.2% support in the May 28 runoff vote.
His election victory highlighted his ability to overcome obstacles and resonate with a significant portion of the electorate.
Many world leaders, including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Ersin Tatar, Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro, and Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani are in Ankara to attend the inauguration ceremony of President Erdogan.
His new five-year mandate allows Erdogan to pursue what have been increasingly authoritarian policies that have polarised the country, a NATO member and strengthened its position as a regional military power.
The new parliament convened on Friday and Erdogan will officially start his new term by taking his oath on Saturday at around 3 p.m. (1200 GMT) in the general assembly in Ankara.
That will be followed by a ceremony at the presidential palace attended by high-level officials from 78 countries and international organisations, including NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.
In the evening, Erdogan is set to name ministers. He was almost certain to include former economy chief Mehmet Simsek in his new cabinet, Reuters reported earlier this week, which would signal a potential return to more economic orthodoxy including eventual interest rate hikes.
Simsek was highly regarded by investors when he served as finance minister and deputy prime minister between 2009 and 2018.
A key role for him now could mark a departure from years of years of policy that was underpinned by low interest rates despite high inflation, and heavy state control of markets.
Erdogan, 69, became prime minister in 2003 after his AK Party won an election in late 2002 following the worst economic crisis of Turkey since the 1970s.
In 2014 he became the country's first popularly-elected president and was elected again in 2018 after securing new executive powers for the presidency in a 2017 referendum.
The May 14 election and May 28 runoff was pivotal given the opposition had been confident of ousting Erdogan and reversing many of his policies, including proposing sharp interest rate hikes to counter inflation, running at 44% in April.
In his victory speech, Erdogan said inflation, which hit a 24-year peak of 85% last year before easing, was Turkey's most urgent issue.
Analysts have warned that if the current policies continue, the economy is headed for turmoil given depleted foreign reserves, an expanding state-backed protected deposits scheme, and unanchored inflation expectations.
The lira has undergone a series of crashes in recent years and hit new all-time lows in the days after the vote.