Erdogan reshapes key Turkish institutions

ISTANBUL • Turkey issued presidential decrees yesterday reshaping key political, military and bureaucratic institutions as part of the transformation to a powerful executive presidency triggered by last month's election.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was sworn in last Monday under the new system and now holds sweeping powers, allowing him to issue decrees on executive matters and appoint and remove senior civil servants.

Among the latest changes, the General Staff - which presides over the armed forces - was brought under the authority of the Defence Minister, according to state-run Anadolu news agency, a move following Mr Erdogan's appointment of military commander Hulusi Akar as Defence Minister.

The country's Official Gazette published seven decrees affecting many state institutions, including the secretariat of the National Security Council, the Defence Industry Directorate and the State Supervisory Council. The changes coincide with the second anniversary of an attempted coup during which at least 250 people were killed, many of them unarmed civilians, when rogue soldiers attempted to topple Mr Erdogan's government.

A state of emergency was imposed after the failed putsch on July 15, 2016, and is set to expire this week. Mr Erdogan's AK Party and its nationalist ally plan to introduce security regulations to ensure the "fight against terrorism" will continue after emergency rule ends, two sources said.

Mr Erdogan took part in a religious ceremony in an Ankara mosque before he hosted a lunch with martyrs' families and those wounded at the presidential palace. July 15 is now a national holiday and Mr Erdogan promised that "we will not let it be forgotten and we will not forget it". He was due to address citizens on the bridge across the Bosphorus in Istanbul - now renamed the July 15 Martyrs' Bridge - which was the scene of bloody fighting between his supporters and the renegade soldiers.

Ankara municipality organised a rally in the renamed July 15 Kizilay National Will Square, the same place where thousands gathered nightly for a month after the coup attempt.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2018, with the headline 'Erdogan reshapes key Turkish institutions'. Print Edition | Subscribe