Erdoğan praises presidential system, says Turkey to remain in Syria until Syrians ‘free’

Turkey’s current presidential system offers the country faster, more effective and comprehensive reflexes during a time of regional and global crises, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday.

"The presidential government system is the only administrative reform that has been carried out directly by the national will in our 200-year quest for democracy," state-run Anadolu news agency quoted Erdoğan as saying at a two-year presidential cabinet evaluation meeting.

Turkey’s executive presidential system was ushered in with the June 2018 elections. The system has come under criticism for effectively eliminating the prime minister's post while transferring executive powers to the president, who rules with only limited checks and balances.

The Turkish president vowed to willingly adjust his policy should a better and more effective system of government be found.

"Are there no deficiencies or flaws? Yes there are. But we are quickly correcting these with the opportunities provided by the new system,’’ Erdoğan said. "This will take time to settle, as is the case with any change.’’

Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) maintains the new system would allow for the smoother running of government and place the parliament, in charge of legislature, as a counterweight to the president’s executive powers. But critics maintain the system has tightened Erdoğan’s grip on the country and ushered in one-man rule.

A total of 64 percent of Turkey wishes to revert to the parliamentary system from the current presidential system, according to a survey commissioned earlier this year by Turkey’s centre-right opposition Good (İYİ) Party.

Erdoğan also said that Turkish forces would remain in neighbouring Syria, where the country has carried out several military offensives since 2016, until Syrians can live in freedom and safety.

“Until the Syrian people are free, peaceful and safe, we will remain in this country,” he said.

In Syria, Ankara throws its weight behind armed forces opposing the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, including jihadist groups.