Erdogan presidency risks further polarising tense Turkey

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) waves to members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), flanked by his wife Emin Erdogan, at a ceremony in Ankara on July 1, 2014Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to represent all Turks as he declared he would stand for president, but critics fear his assumption of a powerful presidency risks further polarising an already divided country. Erdogan, 60, who has already been premier for 11 years, made clear in his announcement on Tuesday that he intended to be a much more powerful president than the largely ceremonial role performed by past incumbents. Erdogan is widely expected to win the August 10 polls that would see him extend his hold on power at least until 2019 and — should he seek a second mandate — possibly until 2024. The potential for strife is clear at the most turbulent time in his Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) decade-long domination of Turkey, after a year of protests and a stream of corruption allegations.

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