Recep Tayyip Erdogan named the cabinet of his new government after swearing in for his third term as head of state in Turkey on Saturday.
Turkey’s leader changed almost all of his cabinet members, except for the ministers for health and culture. Outgoing ministers Mevlut Cavusoglu (Foreign Affairs), Hulusi Akar (Defense) and Suleyman Soylu (Interior) were not reappointed.
Cevdet Yilmaz, who has previously served as minister of development, deputy prime minister in charge of the economy and has been the chairman of the Turkish Parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission since November 2020, was appointed vice president.
Cumhurbaşkanlığı Kabinesi Açıklamasıhttps://t.co/e4OXsTASbt
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) June 3, 2023
Surprising cabinet appointments in Turkey’s key ministries
Former economy chief Mehmet Simsek, a respected economist who has previously worked for Merill Lynch, was appointed Treasury and Finance minister, in a move that is perceived by analysts as signaling Turkey’s return to orthodox economic policy as Simsek is known to oppose Erdogan’s unconventional policies, Al Jazeera notes.
Diplomat and intelligence chief Hakan Fidan was named minister of Foreign Affairs, while military chief General Yasar Guler takes over the position of defense minister.
Erdogan has appointed only one woman minister in his new cabinet.
Turkish-Belgian diplomat and former Member of Brussels’ Parliament Mahinur Özdemir Goktas will head the ministry of Family and Social Services.
The surprising appointments reflect the challenges that Erdogan is faced with as his new term in Turkey’s presidency begins.
Addressing the country’s economic troubles will be Erdogan’s priority with inflation running at 43.70 percent, partly due to his unorthodox policy of cutting interest rates to stimulate growth.
Turkey’s longest-serving leader also faces considerable diplomatic challenges amid tensions with the West.
NATO allies are anxiously waiting for Ankara to greenlight Sweden’s attempt to join the United States-led defence alliance, before a summit in July.
Turkey’s new Parliament after Erdogan win
Erdogan won the May 28 run-off against a powerful opposition coalition and despite an economic crisis and severe criticism following a devastating February earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people.
He won 52.2 percent of the vote while his rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu 47.8 percent, official results showed.
In the first round of the elections on May 13, the Justice and Development (AK) Party, chaired by Erdogan, emerged as the top party in parliament, securing a total of 268 seats.
In addition to the AK Party, its People’s Alliance partners, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), won 50 seats and New Welfare Party (YRP) won five, securing a combined majority of 323 seats out of the total 600 in parliament.
With 169 deputies, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), along with its coalition partner, the Good (IYI) Party, got a total of 212 seats in parliament, representing the main opposition, Nation’s Alliance, according to Anadolu.
The remaining 65 seats in the Turkish Parliament were won by the Labor and Freedom Alliance, made up of the Green Left Party with 61 seats and the Türkiye Labor Party (TIP) with four.