Erdogan begins third term as Turkey’s president with lavish ceremony amid economic woes

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan was sworn in for his third term as Turkey’s president on Saturday, promising to serve “impartially” and “faithfully” after winning a runoff election last week that extended his two-decade rule.

Erdogan took the oath of office in parliament, followed by a lavish ceremony at his sprawling palace complex attended by 21 heads of state and 13 prime ministers.

The Turkish leader also announced his new cabinet, which included Mehmet Simsek, a respected former finance minister and deputy prime minister, as the head of the economy. Simsek is seen as a proponent of more conventional economic policies that could help ease the country’s cost-of-living crisis.

Turkey is facing multiple domestic challenges, including a battered economy, pressure for the repatriation of millions of Syrian refugees and the need to rebuild after a devastating earthquake in February that killed 50,000 people and leveled entire cities in the southeast of the country.

The country is also grappling with a host of regional and global issues, such as Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, the conflict in Syria, the tensions with Armenia and the dispute over Sweden’s bid to join NATO.

Erdogan, who has been accused by critics of eroding democracy and human rights in Turkey, vowed to uphold the constitution, the rule of law and the principles of the secular republic. He also pledged to work for peace and stability in the world.

“I swear upon my honor and integrity before the great Turkish nation and history to safeguard the existence and independence of the state … to abide by the constitution, the rule of law, democracy, the principles and reforms of Ataturk,” Erdogan said in his oath.

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