A Turkish official said that the president's comments were taken out of context. Erdogan's critics have said that his push for changing the constitution may offer the president far-reaching powers.
Amid a push for increased executive powers, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cited the political system under German dictator Adolf Hitler after being questioned whether a "unitary state" could exist with his ambitions of an executive-style presidential system.
"In a unitary system [such as Turkey's] a presidential system can work perfectly," Erdogan told reporters on Thursday after returning from a trip to Saudi Arabia, according to Turkish media.
"There are already examples in the world. You can see it when you look at Hitler's Germany," he added.
Erdogan has pushed for Turkey's 1980 Constitution - which was written after a military coup the same year - to be changed, in order to transform the president's office from a largely ceremonial role to that of a chief executive, similar to systems in the US, France and Russia.
The president's critics believe his ambitions could give far-reaching powers to a man who has displayed increasingly authoritarian attributes.
A Turkish official told Reuters news agency that the president's comments had been taken out of context by news outlets.
"There are good and poor examples of presidential systems, and the important thing is to put checks and balances in place," the Turkish official said.
"Nazi Germany, lacking proper institutional arrangements, was obviously one of the most disgraceful examples in history," the official added.
ls/jil (AFP, Reuters, AP)