Turkey's President Claimed the Worst Role Model Ever

No biggie, he just wants to rule more like Hitler
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2016 4:00 PM CST
Turkey's President Claimed the Worst Role Model Ever
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, hopefully researching how most of the world feels about Adolf Hitler.   (Basin Bulbul, Presidential Press Service Pool via AP)

The president of a US ally just tried to appear reasonable by pointing out the similarities between his proposal and Hitler's Germany, the Telegraph reports. It was—to say the least—surprising. "Erdogan has to be the first politician to Godwin himself," one incredulous man tweets. Recep Tayyip Erdogan currently holds the largely ceremonial position of president in Turkey after a decade as prime minister, according to the New York Times. He's now attempting to give the office of president "sweeping executive powers," despite Turkey's unitary system of government. "There are already examples in the world,” the Telegraph quotes Erdogan defending his proposal. “You can see it when you look at Hitler's Germany. There are later examples in various other countries."

In retrospect Erdogan should probably have used some of those "later examples," as critics have been decrying his move toward authoritarianism for some time now, the Times reports. "It's a rare instance of his honesty, showing how the strongman really feels," political science professor John Tures writes for the Huffington Post. Erdogan has been accused of arresting journalists and others who criticize him and justifying it by labeling them "terrorists." According to the Times, his behavior led one social-media user to quip, “The difference is that Hitler was a bit shorter.” Erdogan's office is now claiming his statement is being misinterpreted. It claims he was trying to illustrate what could happen if government is misused. (Read more Turkey stories.)

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