ANKARA - Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has named a new defense minister, Ismet Yilmaz, who will replace Vecdi Gonul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced July 6.
Erdogan announced his new cabinet after winning approval from President Abdullah Gul. His AKP won 49.8 percent of the national vote in June 12 parliamentary elections, assuring the party's third consecutive term in power.
Yilmaz, was elected an AKP deputy on June 12 from the central Anatolian city of Sivas where he was born in 1961.
Yilmaz graduated first from the Maritime Faculty of Istanbul Technical University in 1982, and from Istanbul University's Law Faculty in 1987. For 20 years, he worked in public and private business as an engineer and legal adviser/attorney.
In 2002, Yilmaz became Turkey's maritime undersecretary. He temporarily served as transport minister before the 2007 general elections. Turkish law requires that political ministers be replaced by bureaucrats prior to elections.
Later in 2002, Yilmaz was appointed as undersecretary for culture and tourism.
The new defense minister speaks fluent English.