ISTANBUL - Turkey's first directly elected president will be a more powerful figure than the current largely ceremonial role, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was quoted on Tuesday as saying, boosting expectations he may run for the post in August.
Erdogan is barred by the rules of his ruling AK Party from standing for a fourth term as prime minister and, although the party could amend them with relative ease, he has made little secret of his ambition to become president.
The Islamist-rooted AK Party's strong showing in municipal polls last month, despite a graft scandal dogging the government and a damaging feud with an influential cleric, was seen by Erdogan's aides as a vote of confidence in his rule, taking him a step closer to a presidential bid in the August election.
"The president will be elected by the public for the first time, it's important in this sense," Erdogan was quoted as saying by the pro-government Sabah newspaper.
"The responsibilities will be different after these elections. It will not be a president of protocol, but one that sweats, runs around, works hard," he said.