Turkey’s president caused a storm yesterday when he used Adolf Hitler’s ruling system to defend a controversial plan to expand the powers of the presidency.

President Erdogan, the strongman of Turkish politics for more than a decade, is seeking a new constitution to transform his post into a powerful ‘super-presidency’.

Asked on his return from a state visit to Saudi Arabia whether an executive presidency was possible in Turkey while maintaining the unitary structure of the state, Erdogan said: ‘There are already examples in the world. You can see it when you look at Hitler’s Germany.

‘There are later examples in various other countries,’ he told reporters.

Erdogan wants to change the Turkish constitution to turn the ceremonial role of president into that of a chief executive, a Turkish version of the system in the United States, France or Russia.

Emboldened by his Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) landslide election win in November, Erdogan has suggested holding a referendum on the proposed constitutional reforms.

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