In a farewell speech to supporters of his AK Party, Turkish president-elect Tayyip Erdogan said its mission to reshape the nation would go on after he left party politics and took office as head of state.
Erdogan’s supporters see him as a hero, restoring religious values to public life long dominated by the secular ideals of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who founded the modern republic in 1923. Critics, including Western-facing, secular Turks, fear an increasingly authoritarian state.
Erdogan, who was inaugurated as president in August, said it was the birth of a new Turkey.
He dismissed suggestions that a new cabinet led by incoming prime minister and new AK Party leader Ahmet Davutoğu would be a “caretaker” government and he made clear its priorities would not deviate from the path he had set as premier.
Under the constitution, Erdogan must cut his ties to the party as president, and skeptics question how tightly it can hold together without his rigid leadership.
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