Speed Reads

New boss, same as the old boss

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan elected president, heralding big changes

After three terms as prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected president on Sunday with 52 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns reported by the Anadolu News Agency. Under the laws of his Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdogan was barred from seeking a fourth term as prime minister — a position that traditionally and institutionally carries more power than the presidency. Erdogan wants to change that, The New York Times reports.

Turkey's president, widely regarded as a ceremonial head of state, has legislative options that previous presidents have declined to use. Erdogan is expected to not only use all powers at his disposal but push through legislation to gain new ones, aided by a presumably compliant prime minister, with the goal of making Turkey's government less a parliamentary system and more a U.S.-style democracy.

Erdogan has become an increasingly polarizing figure, especially over the last year, as corruption scandals engulfed him and his Islamist AKP party and his policies further alienated Turkey's liberals and urban residents. At the same time, Turkey's economy has expanded robustly during his decade in office.