In a world first, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan uses Hitler's Germany as a positive role model for his constitutional reforms
Turkey’s controversial President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sparked mockery and condemnation by defending new powers he wants to give himself as being similar to Adolf Hitler’s.
In a statement that surprised even his critics, Mr Erdogan responded to arguments that putting political power in the hands of the presidency would not work in a "unitary state".
He said there were other examples of its being successful. "There are already examples in the world,” he said.
“You can see it when you look at Hitler's Germany. There are later examples in various other countries."
The Turkish presidency at present is largely ceremonial, with most powers in the hands of the prime minister. However, when he was prevented constitutionally from standing as prime minister for a fourth election last year, Mr Erdogan stood for the presidency instead, and has used the position to continue his aggressive Islamist agenda.
He has previously suggested Turkey already operates under a de facto presidential system, and said his constitutional reforms would only "finalise" the change.
A senior Turkish official said that Mr Erdogan had meant to highlight Nazi Germany as an example of how not to implement such a system. "There are good and poor examples of presidential systems and the important thing is to put checks and balances in place," the official told The Independent. "Nazi Germany, lacking proper institutional arrangements, was obviously one of the most disgraceful examples in history. That's his point."