Turkey: New cabinet, old habits - TDS

Gladys Abbott
July 12, 2018

Erdogan named his son-in-law Berat Albayrak as treasury and finance minister in an updated cabinet that excluded former deputy prime minister Mehmet Simsek, seen as the main market-friendly minister in the previous government.

This year, in the elections held on June 24, Erdogan won an absolute majority in the presidential polls with 52.5 percent of the vote.

Erdogan, who won last month's election, was sworn in again on Monday.

Mr Erdogan is now the country's most powerful leader since Ataturk: modern Turkey's secular founding father, who saw Turkey as part of the west.

And the economy ministry will be merged with the customs and trade ministry to form a new heavyweight trade ministry.

A ceremony at the presidential palace that will follow later on Monday was scheduled to be attended by dozens of foreign leaders and dignitaries, including Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Erdogan, who has transformed Turkey in 15 years of rule by allowing Islam a greater role in public life and boosting its worldwide stature, took his oath in parliament for a five-year term after his June election victory.

But with the clock wound back under the new system, the changes would mean that Erdogan could stay in power for another two terms until 2028.

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In April 2017, 51 percent of Turkish voters endorsed constitutional changes backed by Erdogan, which scrapped the post of prime minister and allowed the president to appoint ministers and vice presidents and intervene in the legal system.

Turkey's new government announced late on Monday the appointment of former chief of staff General Hulusi Akar as defence minister, a rare transition from military ranks to the political realm.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan poses for photos with the new cabinet members in Ankara, Turkey, on July 9, 2018. The president can also issue decrees, prepare the budget and decide on security policies.

Erdogan said on Saturday that he would tackle "the structural economic problems" of high interest rates and inflation and a wide current account deficit.

Erdogan is also expected to meet European Council head Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament President Antonio Tajani.

The People's Alliance formed by the ruling Justice and Development Party and the Nationalist Movement Party has secured most seats in national parliament with 53.6% of the vote.

With more than 900,000 active personnel, Turkey has the second largest force in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation after the United States which has nearly 1.5 million.

The Turkish lira lost 3.5 percent in value on the news to trade at 4.73 lira to the dollar.

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