Mehmet Simsek, a renowned former banker and former head of Turkey’s economy, has been appointed as the country’s new treasurer and minister of finance by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
With the exception of the ministers of health and culture, Erdogan, who was sworn into his third term as president on Saturday, altered almost all of his cabinet members. Investors held Simsek in high regard during his time as finance minister from 2009 to 2015 and as deputy prime minister in control of the economy until 2018, when he resigned in anticipation of a number of currency crashes.
His selection could signal a change from Erdogan’s years of unconventional economic policies, which included keeping interest rates low despite skyrocketing inflation and tight state control of the markets. Simsek, a former economist for Merrill Lynch, is well-recognized for being against Erdogan’s unconventional approaches.
Mevlut Cavusoglu, who has held the position of foreign minister since 2014, will be replaced as foreign minister by Hakan Fidan, Erdogan’s intelligence head and a former soldier. Fidan, a personal friend of Erdogan’s, served as an advisor in the prime minister’s office before taking the helm of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) in 2010.
An investigation into secret peace discussions held in Oslo by MIT and the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in 2012, which was later dropped, involved Fidan.
It was announced that Yasar Guler, the Turkish military’s chief of general staff, will take over as defense minister in place of Hulusi Akar. The 69-year-old oversaw military operations in Syria and Iraq while serving as the military commander during Turkey’s military incursions into Syria in 2019 and 2020.
Turkey is experiencing a dilemma with its rising cost of living, and inflation reached an all-time high of 85% in October before falling to 44% in May. Since the beginning of the year, the currency’s value against the dollar has decreased by more than 10%.
Erdogan also declared Cevdet Yilmaz his running mate. Previously, Yilmaz held positions as deputy prime minister in charge of the economy, deputy chairman of Erdogan’s Adalet ve Kalknma Party’s (Justice and Development Party) economic affairs, and minister of development.
Since November 2020, Yilmaz, 56, has presided over the Planning and Budget Commission of the Turkish Parliament. Fidan, Guler, and Yilmaz were referred to as “doers Erdogan can count on” by Ziya Meral, a senior associate fellow at the European Leadership Network.
Meral told Al Jazeera that Erdogan is concentrating on fortifying against political opposition, addressing some of the concerns that nearly cost them this election, and pursuing his vision for this new century of the Republic. “The message is all of this for the next 10 months, and if not, for the next few years,” Meral said. And he is entrusting all of these important responsibilities to those he knows will deliver.
President Erdogan’s New Cabinet
|Minister of Finance
|Minister of Family and Social Services
|Mahinur Ozdemir Goktas
|Minister of Labor and Social Security
|Minister of Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change
|Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
|Minister of Youth and Sports
|Osman Askin Bak
|Minister of Culture and Tourism
|Mehmet Nuri Ersoy
|Minister of Health
|Minister of Industry and Technology
|Mehmet Fatih Kacir
|Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
|Minister of Trade
|Minister of Transportation