Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s outgoing prime minister, has been sworn in as president during a ceremony in the capital Ankara, extend his more than a decade-long domination of the country’s political scene.
Erdogan, 60, took his oath of office on Thursday, ushering in a new era for Turkey, where he is expected to push for a new constitution and seek to further transform the country with development projects.
Taking over Erdogan’s post of prime minister is Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, 55, a longstanding ally who is expected to do little to challenge the president.
Erdogan has made clear he wants to wield genuine executive power as president, unlike recent predecessors in the Cankaya presidential palace who performed a largely ceremonial role.
However, some opponents have warned that the new president will extend what they see as his increasingly authoritarian rule.
From Istanbul, journalist Andrew Finkel told Al Jazeera that Erdogan would likely use his new position to continue exerting control over the way Turkey is run.
He added that one of the main accomplishments of Erdogan’s tenure as prime minister has been “to clip the power of the military”.
“At one stage, [the military] via the constitutional court was almost intent on closing his party down, tearing him out of office. But he fought back that challenge,” he said.
Erdogan, who became prime minister in 2003, won presidential elections on August 10 with almost 52 percent, the first time Turkey has elected its president in a popular vote.
The election was a triumph for Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) after surviving a tumultuous 2013 that saw deadly anti-government protests and corruption allegations against his circle.
He will take over as president from Abdullah Gul, a former close comrade and co-founder of the AKP, who appears now to have fallen out with Erdogan and is expected to play no role in the next government.
Heads of state from a dozen nations in Eastern Europe, Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East attended the ceremony, the state Anatolia news agency reported.
But leaders of leading Western states were conspicuous by their absence in a possible sign of suspicion towards Erdogan’s authoritarian tendencies. The United States only sent its charge d’affaires to Ankara.