He’s been solidifying unchallenged power since becoming Turkey’s 12th president in August 2014 – previously serving as prime minister since 2003.
He founded and heads the Justice and Development Party (AKP), using it as an instrument for dictatorial rule.
On May 5, he ousted Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu effective May 22, reports indicating he’ll install his son-in-law to replace him, current energy minister Berat Albayrak.
He plans constitutional changes, “institutionaliz(ing)” dictatorial rule, on Friday saying “there is no turning back,” claiming his scheme has popular support.
Turkish citizens want a “strong presidency,” he asserted. “(D)espite elections…there is not and will not be a vacuum in the country’s administration…”
While acknowledging concern expressed about his cronies and allies running things unopposed, he claimed “(w)hat can be more natural.”
He rejected EU demands for revising Turkey’s unacceptable antiterrorism and anti-corruption laws – required along with other so-called reforms for granting its citizens visa-free travel as part of the deal involving Ankara agreeing to warehouse refugees fleeing war zones European nations don’t want.
Erdogan insists on no deal unless the European Commission ends its demand for Turkey to change its repressive laws – ludicrously claiming the nation is under attack.
“We will go our way, and you can go your way,” he blustered unless Brussels lets Ankara run its internal affairs unobstructed.
Germany’s Angela Merkel called his backtracking on commitments “certainly not good news for us. (He’d) be very ill-advised to throw this out the window and think this is now a matter of horse-trading.”
“He thinks (negotiating is) 50% wriggle room, and the rest is all arm-wrestling.” Davutoglu was her main Turkish ally. His ouster creates uncertainty.
Despots don’t negotiate. They demand. Erdogan’s top priority is transforming Turkey from a parliamentary system to a dictatorial presidency – requiring constitutional change to accomplish.
His ruling AKP party lacks the required 330 seat 60% majority without help from opposition parties. They oppose his scheme. How he intends pulling it off remains to be seen.