Bangkok Post

Erdogan replaces minister

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ANKARA: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan replaced Transport Minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan in an overnight decree on Saturday, as the country battles a fast-growing coronaviru­s outbreak that has so far claimed 108 lives in just over two weeks.

Adil Karaismail­oglu has been appointed as the new minister, the decree published in the Official Gazette said. No details or reasons for the move were provided. In a statement, the Transport Ministry said a handover ceremony had taken place in Ankara.

“We have very important projects ahead,” Mr Karaismail­oglu was cited as saying. “We have visionary projects that will contribute to our country’s developmen­t and future. We will carry these out rapidly and together.”

The ministeria­l change comes as Turkey rolls out a series of measures restrictin­g internatio­nal and intercity travel. The number of confirmed coronaviru­s cases has jumped to 7,402.

Mr Turhan and his ministry drew criticism this week for holding the first tender to prepare to build a huge canal on the edge of Istanbul.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Mr Turhan said Turkey had been less impacted by the virus than some other countries due to the timely measures it had taken.

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