Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office was feverishly back-tracking today after a press conference in which Erdogan, talking up his vision for dramatically greater executive branch powers while maintaining the overall structure of the Turkish government, cited “Hitler’s Germany” as an example, before also saying there were “later examples” in other countries.
Turkish officials later accused the media of taking the comment out of context, saying Erdogan meant that Hitler’s Germany was an example of a bad powerful executive branch, even though it was the only specific example he gave in comments defending his own ambitions.
Erdogan’s plan has faced growing criticism from political opposition who say it will lead to a dictatorship, though Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, a close Erdogan ally, insisted that Turkey’s “democratic spirit” was too strong for that to be a serious risk.
Nominally, the Turkish presidency has very little power, though Erdogan has used dominance over his ruling AKP party to act as a driving force in Turkey’s government for years, and the constitutional revisions may ultimately just codify the powers he has already, in practical purposes, amassed.
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