Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a fuzzy grasp of British government, it turns out:
When taking up office he vowed to be an active president who would use his mandate to strengthen what had until then been a largely ceremonial post and to push for the necessary constitutional change that would turn Turkey’s parliamentary system into a presidential one.
On Thursday night, he looked to London for justification, arguing that Britain, a constitutional monarchy in which the Queen is head of state but where the power to make and pass legislation lies with an elected parliament, had much in common with the system he was looking to establish.
“Even England has a semi-presidential system,” Erdogan claimed during a live broadcast on Turkish state television. “The person in charge there is the Queen.”
He went on to slam increasingly widespread criticism of undermining checks and balances in Turkey: “When it comes to the US, to Brazil, South Korea or Mexico, nobody says they are a monarchy. So when Turkey follows a similar idea, why does [a presidential system] here suddenly become a monarchy?”
I don’t why you’re suddenly accused to trying to establish a monarchy. Maybe because of weird statements about how QE2 is “in charge” of “England”?
Or, I suppose, authoritarian crackdowns on the opposition, the media, ethnic minorities; holding power for over a decade and repeatedly trying to amend the constitution to become more powerful; proposing the restoration of the imperial Ottoman alphabet nearly a century after its replacement; insisting that Muslims discovered and colonized the Americas before Columbus landed; and just generally other bizarre and disturbing actions that validate accusations of a “cult of personality” project and that undermine any legitimately impressive domestic policy accomplishments over the years? That might have something to do with the monarchy talk.