After being sworn in as President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan reorganized most of his cabinet. It seems to focus on economy and security. The only woman in the cabinet is Mahinur Özdemir Göktas. The former Belgian politician will be Turkey’s new minister for family affairs.
The politician was born in Belgium and served as a municipal councilor in Schaerbeek. In 2009, she was elected the first female politician to wear a headscarf in the Brussels parliament, for the Christian-Democratic party CdH. When she refused to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide in 2015, she was expelled from the party. She then sat as an independent on the municipal council of Schaerbeek and in the Brussels parliament. In 2020, she was appointed ambassador to Algeria by the Turkish government. On Saturday, she was presented by Erdogan as the new minister for family affairs.
The president also appointed Mehmet Simsek, a popular economist in the financial markets, as finance minister. Turkey is currently struggling with an official inflation rate of around 44%. Experts blame the policies of Erdogan, who has so far kept interest rates low against economic logic to fight inflation. Simsek represents orthodox financial and economic policy: he is expected to abandon the policy of low interest rates.
Intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, a former confidant of Erdogan, becomes foreign minister. This suggests that the president’s policy will be security-oriented in the years to come. Mevlüt Cavusoglu, who held this position for almost ten years, is no longer part of the cabinet. Chief of Staff Yasar Güler has been appointed Defense Minister by President Erdogan, his former adjutant Cevdet Yilmaz will become Vice President. Ali Yerlikaya, the former governor of Istanbul, will be the new interior minister.
Only Health Minister Fahrettin Koca and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy retained their positions as former cabinet members.
Erdogan was re-elected in the second round of the presidential election last Sunday with 52% of the vote. On May 14, his AKP and his coalition partners already won a majority in parliament. The elections were considered unfair due to the control of the AKP and President Erdogan over the government apparatus and the country’s media.
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