World Bulletin / News Desk
Recep Tayyip Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's 12th president at a ceremony in parliament on Thursday, cementing his position as the country's most powerful modern leader.
"In my capacity as President of the Republic, I swear upon my honor and repute before the great Turkish nation and before history to safeguard the existence and independence of the state," Erdogan said, reading the oath of office.
Erdogan appointed outgoing foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as acting prime minister on Thursday, according to an announcement in the official gazette, moments after being sworn in as Turkey's 12th head of state.
Davutoglu will oversee Turkey's existing cabinet until Erdogan asks him to form a new government, whose members are expected to be announced on Friday.
Scores of foreign dignitaries from sixty-seven countries and eight international organizations attended his inauguration ceremony in the Turkish capital Ankara, just a day after he made way for Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to replace him in his former role.
President Erdogan, who is the first president in Turkey to be elected via popular vote, has indicated he wants to transform the presidency from a largely ceremonial post into a more powerful position.
Having dominated Turkish politics for over a decade, Erdogan has served as Turkey's Prime Minister since 2003 and led the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to victory in three successive general elections.
In elections held August 10, Erdogan was voted in to become the 12th Turkish president, taking 52% of the votes in the first round ahead of rivals Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and Selahattin Demirtas.
Erdogan replaces outgoing president and the co-founder of the AK Party Abdullah Gul, who has indicated that he may return to his party after stepping down.
Opposition lawmakers storm out
Despite promising to boycott the presidential inauguration, lawmakers from the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) turned up to the ceremony only to storm out.
Opposition lawmakers began to protest against the inauguration in front of guests from both in and out of Turkey by banging their fists on their tables in the Turkish parliament.
Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek said that he would not allow such protests to interrupt proceedings.
Calling on the CHP lawmakers to respect the traditions of the state and the parliament, Cicek said, "We participate in the debates in every way and at every opportunity, but today there is no chance of us doing so."
"You may participate or you may not, but I will fulfil this inauguration," Cicek said as CHP lawmakers raised their voices.
CHP lawmaker Engin Altay then threw a copy of the parliament's constitution at the Parliament Speaker's face before the CHP lawmakers stormed out.
Republican People's Party leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, said on Thursday that he would not attend President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s swearing-in ceremony at the Turkish parliament.
“I will not witness [his] lies,” Kilicdaroglu told local council members during a speech in Istanbul’s Besiktas district. He went on to accuse Erdogan of violating the Turkish constitution.
CHP spokesperson Haluk Koc claimed on Wednesday that Erdogan has been Turkey’s president since August 15 and should have resigned from the prime ministry and as chairman of the ruling AK Party.
However, Huseyin Celik, an AK Party spokesperson, denied the CHP accusation, saying there is no constitutional violation in Erdogan’s maintaining the prime ministry position until August 28.
Other opposition parties – the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) – attended the ceremony without problems.
Pro-Kurdish HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas, who came in third place in the presidential elections on August 10 after winner Erdogan and CHP's candidate Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, slammed Altay's actions.
"If they have chosen to boycott the inauguration as a party then we respect that, but the throwing of the papers was impolite," Demirtas said.Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Ağustos 2014, 16:51