Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been condemned for defending his request for greater authority by claiming that he only wants the same powers as Adolf Hitler held.
Erdogan stood for the largely powerless role of president last year after being constitutionally prevented from running for a fourth term as prime minister.
Since then he has pushed for constitutional change that would allow him greater influence, while continuing to pursue an Islamist agenda.
In response to arguments that giving the president political power would not work in a unitary state, he cited other ‘successful’ cases from the past.
“There are already examples in the world,” he said. “You can see it when you look at Hitler’s Germany. There are later examples in various other countries.”
Within Turkey he was criticised for apparent dictatorial ambitions, and Middle Eastern online commentators took to Twitter to ridicule his remarks. Twitter user Cahida Dersim posted that “Turkish Pres #Erdogan says Hitler’s Germany an example of presidential system with unitary state. Yes, we have just entered the year 2016!”
The comments were seen as the latest in a series of statements insensitive to Jews. In the past he has likened Zionism to fascism, given financial and diplomatic support to Hamas and called for Turkish Jews to issue a statement condemning Israel.