Er­do­gan ap­proves new govern­ment led by ally

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

ANKARA—Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan on Tues­day ap­proved a new govern­ment formed by one of his most trusted al­lies, who im­me­di­ately as­serted his in­ten­tion to in­sti­tute con­sti­tu­tional re­forms that would ex­pand the pow­ers of the pres­i­dency.

Bi­nali Yildirim, 60, for­merly min­is­ter of trans­port and com­mu­ni­ca­tions, re­places Ah­met Davu­to­glu, who stepped down on Sun­day amid a range of dif­fer­ences with the pres­i­dent, in­clud­ing Davu­to­glu’s ap­par­ently less-than-en­thu­si­as­tic stance to­ward an over­haul of the con­sti­tu­tion to give the largely cer­e­mo­nial pres­i­dency ex­ec­u­tive pow­ers.

“We will im­me­di­ately start work to achieve a new con­sti­tu­tion, in­clud­ing a pres­i­den­tial sys­tem,” Yildirim told law­mak­ers of his Jus­tice and Devel­op­ment Party, or AKP, in his first speech af­ter tak­ing of­fice.

“Our pri­or­ity is to make the con­sti­tu­tion in har­mony with the de-facto sit­u­a­tion re­gard­ing our pres­i­dent’s ties to the peo­ple,” Yildirim said.

Many fear the pres­i­den­tial sys­tem that Er­do­gan seeks will con­cen­trate too many pow­ers in the hands of the Turk­ish strong­man, who has adopted an in­creas­ing au­thor­i­tar­ian style of gov­ern­ing, has cracked down on me­dia and govern­ment crit­ics and is ac­cused of med­dling in the run­ning of the govern­ment in breach of the con­sti­tu­tion.

The new govern­ment — which Yildirim is widely be­lieved to have formed in con­sul­ta­tion with Er­do­gan — in­cludes nine new names, al­though most min­is­ters from Davu­to­glu’s pre­vi­ous Cabi­net re­tained key port­fo­lios.

They in­clude Mev­lut Cavu­soglu, who re­mains for­eign min­is­ter, and Mehmet Sim­sek, the deputy min­is­ter who heads eco­nomic af­fairs. Volkan Bozkir, the min­is­ter in charge of re­la­tions with the Euro­pean Union, was re­placed by Omer Ce­lik, a found­ing mem­ber of the AKP who is known to be close to the pres­i­dent. Er­do­gan’s son-in-law, Berat Al­bayrak, kept his po­si­tion as en­ergy min­is­ter.

In a clear sign that Er­do­gan would con­tinue to in­flu­ence govern­ment, he was sched­uled to chair the new Cabi­net’s first meet­ing at his palace on Wed­nes­day.

Do­mes­ti­cally, the po­lit­i­cal reshuf­fling takes place as Tur­key faces se­ri­ous se­cu­rity threats in­clud­ing in­creased at­tacks by Kur­dish and Is­lamic State mil­i­tants. It is also comes as par­lia­ment is in dis­ar­ray af­ter a govern­ment-backed con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment has left 138 law­mak­ers vul­ner­a­ble to pros­e­cu­tion. In­ter­na­tion­ally, Tur­key is also fac­ing a del­i­cate mo­ment in its re­la­tions with the Euro­pean Union. The im­ple­men­ta­tion of a Tur­key-EU deal to help stem the in­flux of mi­grants to Eu­rope — which Davu­to­glu had helped ne­go­ti­ate — has re­peat­edly come into ques­tion.—Agen­cies

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