Has Turkey supported Nazi Germany and Hitler

Excitement about Erdogan's statements about Hitler's Germany

Ankara - Statements by the Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the system of government in Nazi Germany have been misinterpreted, according to the President's Office. Erdogan did not present Hitler's state as an example of an efficient presidential system, the office said on Friday.

Erdogan, who as president is striving for more powers and a strong presidential system, was asked after his visit to Saudi Arabia on Thursday whether this could be done if the country's unified state structure was retained. According to a recording by the Dogan news agency, Erdogan replied: "There are already examples of this in the world. You can see that when you look at Hitler's Germany." There were also examples of this later in other countries.

Presidential Office: Statements "distorted"

Erdogan's metaphor about "Hitler's Germany" was distorted by some news sources and turned into the opposite, said the President's Office in Ankara. With his remarks he wanted to show that a presidential system could also exist in a unitary state and did not necessarily need a federal system and that neither a presidential nor a parliamentary system offered a guarantee against abuse of power. "If the system is misused, it can lead to bad leadership, which ends in disasters like in Hitler's Germany." What is important is fair leadership that serves the interests of the nation. It was unacceptable to give the impression that Erdogan was portraying Hitler's Germany in a positive light, said the office of the President.

A government official had previously said that Erdogan's words had been taken out of context. "There were good and bad examples of presidential systems and it is important to establish a separation of powers. Nazi Germany, where the proper institutional arrangements were lacking, was obviously one of the most shameful examples in history," said the government official.

Constitutional amendment planned

The ruling AKP, founded by Erdogan, made constitutional amendments its central theme after winning a majority in the November parliamentary elections.

The party reached an agreement with the leading opposition party, the CHP, on Wednesday to press ahead with constitutional reform.

The opposition agrees that there needs to be an amendment to the constitution that was introduced after the 1980 coup and that bears the signature of the military author. However, the parties do not support a presidential system as targeted by Erdogan. They fear that this will concentrate too much power on an authoritarian leader. (Reuters, red, 1.1.2016)