ANKARA: Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to take the oath of office as Turkey's first popularly elected president Thursday, a position that will keep him in the nation's driving seat for at least another five years.
Following his installation, Erdogan is scheduled to appoint Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, his designated successor as prime minster and loyal ally, to form a new government.
Erdogan has dominated Turkish politics for a decade and won Turkey's first direct presidential elections on August 10. He has indicated he wants to transform the presidency from a largely ceremonial post into a more powerful position and his expected to retain sway in the country's running.
Erdogan Wednesday rejected claims that Davutoglu would merely do his bidding. He said the two would work "hand in hand" in achieving goals he has set for the country, which includes enacting a new constitution.
Dozens of foreign dignitaries are attending Erdogan's inauguration ceremony, but representation from Turkey's key allies in the West is at a low level, with the United States sending its acting ambassador in Ankara. Erdogan's image in the West has been hit by his increasingly authoritarian tendencies and by corruption allegations which the Turkish leader has rejected as a conspiracy to topple him.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey's main opposition party, said he would shun the inauguration ceremony. He has accused Erdogan of violating the constitution by not stepping down as prime minister immediately after his election as president.
Erdogan "will pledge allegiance to the constitution but he will lie. I don't want to witness that lie," Kilicdaroglu said.