Er­do­gan son-in-law has key post in new cab­i­net

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

ANKARA: Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­to­glu yes­ter­day un­veiled a new cab­i­net stacked with loyal al­lies of Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan, in­clud­ing his son-in-law who was named en­ergy min­is­ter. Davu­to­glu won ap­proval for his cab­i­net at a meet­ing with Er­do­gan and the Turk­ish strong­man is ex­pected to keep tight con­trol over the gov­ern­ment. The an­nounce­ment of the new lineup comes af­ter the snap Novem­ber 1 elec­tion where the rul­ing Jus­tice and De­vel­op­ment Party (AKP) co-founded by Er­do­gan stun­ningly re­gained the ma­jor­ity it had un­ex­pect­edly lost in a June vote.

There had been con­sid­er­able in­ter­est in whether Er­do­gan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak would be in the cab­i­net af­ter un­con­firmed re­ports that Davu­to­glu was op­posed to his pres­ence in the gov­ern­ment. An­other long­stand­ing Er­do­gan ally, Bi­nali Yildirim, was named trans­port min­is­ter but there was no space in the cab­i­net for for­mer deputy premier Ali Baba­can, a trusted fig­ure in global fi­nan­cial mar­kets.

For­mer fi­nance min­is­ter Mehmet Sim­sek, an­other key eco­nomic fig­ure seen as re­as­sur­ing to the mar­kets, was ap­pointed deputy prime min­is­ter and is ex­pected to take over Baba­can’s role. Albayrak was un­til late 2013 the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Ca­lik Hold­ing con­glom­er­ate but has more re­cently been writ­ing eco­nomic com­men­taries in pro-gov­ern­ment news­pa­pers. Er­do­gan is con­sid­ered very close to the Albayrak fam­ily, in par­tic­u­lar Berat Albayrak’s fa­ther Sadik. Sev­eral world lead­ers at­tended the mar­riage of Berat Albayrak to the pres­i­dent’s el­der daugh­ter Esra Er­do­gan in July 2004.

In a short speech be­fore he an­nounced the new cab­i­net, Davu­to­glu said the new gov­ern­ment would fo­cus on achiev­ing struc­tural re­forms over the next four years. The new gov­ern­ment has sev­eral fa­mil­iar faces from the AKP gov­ern­ment that had been in power un­til the June elec­tion. Mev­lut Cavu­soglu, a fig­ure seen as re­as­sur­ing for the United States and the Euro­pean Union, re­turned to his for­mer post as for­eign min­is­ter, while Efkan Ala also re­turned to the cab­i­net as in­te­rior min­is­ter.

Two women min­is­ters will be serv­ing in the new cab­i­net: Fam­ily and so­cial poli­cies min­is­ter Sema Ra­mazanoglu and en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter Fatma Guldemet Sari. The Novem­ber re­sult was a huge per­sonal vic­tory for Er­do­gan, who may now be able to se­cure enough sup­port for his con­tro­ver­sial am­bi­tions to ex­pand his role into a pow­er­ful US-style ex­ec­u­tive pres­i­dency. How­ever the AKP still does not com­mand the two-thirds ma­jor­ity needed to change the con­sti­tu­tion with­out sup­port from other par­ties or a pop­u­lar ref­er­en­dum. Tur­key is fac­ing a re­newed con­flict be­tween the state and Kur­dish sep­a­ratists as well as a wave of bloody at­tacks blamed on Is­lamic State ji­hadists. — AFP

ANKARA: Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan (left) meets Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­to­glu yes­ter­day. — AFP

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