Turkey's Erdogan son-in-law made finance minister amid nepotism fears

Irving Hamilton
July 12, 2018

Shortly before Erdogan took oath for a new term in office - which marks the start of a shift to an executive presidency - the government in its Official Gazette removed a clause that had stated the central bank governor was appointed by cabinet decision for five years, and could be re-appointed.

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.

Investors are anxious that, with the appointment of Albayrak and dismissal of some top finance ministers, there will be no-one left to temper Erdogan's economic views. In 2016, a coup to depose him failed.

"As president, I swear upon my honour and integrity, before the great Turkish nation and history, to work with all my power to protect and exalt the glory and honour of the Republic of Turkey", Erdogan told parliament as he took the oath of office.

Turkey's president says he thinks the mindset of Greek Cypriots remains unchanged from when the latest effort to reunify ethnically divided Cyprus collapsed a year ago.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has expressed satisfaction and pride over the strengthening of Moroccan-Turkish bilateral ties.

According to the amendments to the Turkish Constitution, the country abolished the position of Prime Minister, and the government will now be headed by a President.

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Erdgoan has said he will announce the cabinet on Monday night, promising to make appointments from outside parliament and to slim down his ministerial team to 16 from more than 20.

Current Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu could in theory continue in his job but reports have said Erdogan may choose his spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, or even spy chief Hakan Fidan to succeed him.

The unexpected move leaves key details on the future functioning of the central bank unanswered but signals that Erdogan intends to keep to a pledge in May to increase his control over the way monetary policy is made. The sweeping dismissals bring to about 130,000 the number of people purged from Turkey's civil service since the failed coup, and come just days before the state of emergency is set to expire.

Ties with the United States and other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners also frayed, but Turkey remains crucial for any hope of stability in Syria and Iraq and curbing refugee flows to Europe.

In the November 2002 general elections, the AK Party became Turkey's sole ruling party with a two-thirds majority in parliament.

One day ahead of the inauguration, 18,632 public sector employees were ordered dismissed, including thousands of soldiers and police officers in a new crackdown.

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