Turkish president looks to 'Hitler's Germany' as effective government

By Amy R. Connolly  |  Jan. 1, 2016 at 11:26 AM
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ISTANBUL, Turkey, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lauded Adolf Hitler's reign over Nazi Germany as a historic example of effective government.

Erdogan, in a push to encourage a presidential system of government, cited "Hitler's Germany" as an example of how such a government can be achieved.

"You can see it when you look at Hitler's Germany," he said. "There are later examples in various other countries."

Erdogan is already facing backlash after announcing he was to hold referendums to create a constitution and transition to a presidential form of government. Opponents called his proposal unrealistic and worry he is pushing for an increasing amount of power.

"In a vast majority of developed countries, we see this system or semi-presidential system or partisan-president system. The existing system in America is a kind of partisan-president system. The president does not break off his relationship with his party. He has his party behind him," Erdogan said, adding the presidential system would make Turkey stronger.

Erdogan served three terms as Turkey's prime minister, the country's top executive job, until he took over the presidency, a largely ceremonial office with some powers. The country's ruling Islamist Justice and Development party (AKP), founded by Erdogan, is focused on a new Turkish constitution after it took back a majority in the country's parliamentary elections in November. The current constitution was written after a 1980 military coup.

Erdogan is not a stranger to controversial remarks, including claims Muslims discovered the Americas before Christopher Columbus and a vow to eradicate Twitter.

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