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ICC Note: Today’s election in Turkey will have a significant impact on the country’s future, as it will solidify last year’s constitutional changes that empowers the presidency. This includes giving the president the right to interfere directly in the legal system. Turkish Christians often point to an inclusive legal system as one of the primary drivers of persecution. Erdogan, who has been in power for 15 years, has done much to reshape Turkey towards an Islamic nationalism that leaves little room for Christians.       

06/24/2018 Turkey (BBC) –  Recep Tayyip Erdogan, backed by his Islamist-rooted AK Party (AKP), has reshaped Turkey more than any other person since the founding of the modern state.

But he is a controversial figure, having moved to consolidate his power after a failed coup against his rule in 2016. Turkey has been under a state of emergency ever since, with 107,000 public servants and soldiers dismissed from their jobs. More than 50,000 people have been imprisoned pending trial since July 2016.

After completing two terms as prime minister, Mr Erdogan won the first-ever election to the presidency in 2014, for what was supposed to be a largely ceremonial role.

Then, in April 2017, 51% of Turkish voters endorsed a new constitution that grants new powers for the presidency.

Those include:

  • Directly appointing top public officials, including ministers and vice-presidents
  • The power to intervene in the country’s legal system
  • The power to impose a state of emergency

In addition to those changes, the job of prime minister will be scrapped.

Some critics feel the new president will wield too much power, and that Turkey lacks the checks and balances of other executive presidencies such as France or the United States.

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