ANKARA — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is pushing for constitutional changes that would turn Turkey’s political system into a presidential system expanding the powers of his office, has cited Hitler’s Germany as an example.
Asked on his return from a state visit to Saudi Arabia whether an executive presidency was possible in Turkey while maintaining the unitary structure of the state, Erdogan said: “There are already examples in the world. You can see it when you look at Hitler’s Germany”. According to a recording broadcast by the Dogan news agency.
Erdogan’s Hitler comments created uproar in Turkey and internationally. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) criticized Erdogan’s remarks and said citing Hitler’s fascist Germany as an example for a presidential system shows that the president does not have an understanding of democracy.
The reference to “Hitler’s Germany shows us what kind of regime Erdogan has planned,” said Oktay Vural of the MHP, describing the statement as “an insult to Turkey’s democracy.”
The Turkish presidency said on Friday comments by Erdogan about the system of governance in Hitler’s Germany had been misinterpreted and that he had not suggested it was an example of an effective presidential system.
“There are later examples in various other countries,” he told reporters, according to a recording broadcast by the Dogan news agency.