Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has just been re-elected for a third term as President of Turkey, revealed his new cabinet at the presidential palace after his swearing-in ceremony on Saturday, and the ministerial appointments were published in the Official Gazette on the same day.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca and Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, neither of whom were candidates for parliamentary seats, were the only members to retain their positions, meaning that 16 out of the 18 ministers in the previous – and first – cabinet under the presidential system of government were replaced.
Former Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and former Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu were both prominent characters in the previous cabinet, with Akar’s name being mentioned as a potential presidential candidate, and Soylu’s significant influence, on a parallel with Erdoğan’s, also attracting attention from political commentators.
A significant appointment in the new cabinet was the transfer of Hakan Fidan from the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) to the Foreign Ministry, the first time such a transfer has been made in Turkey. Fidan’s appointment is seen as a reward for his role in shaping regional processes such as negotiations with Iran and policy in Syria, and for his involvement in various sensitive matters such as the Kurdish peace process and the 15 July coup attempt.
Mehmet Şimşek, another noteworthy figure, who returns as Minister of Treasury and Finance having held the post from 2009 to 2015, had already been tipped for head of the economy. While many economists anticipate that Şimşek’s involvement will bring positive effects to the markets, several statements he made during his previous tenure, such as attributing the increase in unemployment to women and the high severance pay, have caused concerns in labour circles.
And lastly, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya, the former governor of Istanbul, has a history of engaging in debates with the Mayor of Istanbul Ekrem İmamoğlu, a dynamic which led to the perception that as a representative of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) he was involved in a partisan competition with the opposition-led local administration.