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New Turk PM Announces Cabinet; Defense Minister Remains

Aug. 29, 2014 - 03:45AM   |  
By BURAK EGE BEKDIL   |   Comments
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced his new government in Ankara on Friday.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced his new government in Ankara on Friday. (ADEM ALTAN/ / AFP)
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ANKARA — New Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Friday announced a ministerial line-up with only four changes from President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s former Cabinet.

Davutoglu gave his former job of foreign minister to Mevlut Cavusoglu, former European Union affairs minister. Cavusoglu, 46, was one of the founding members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Volkan Bozkir, a former ambassador, replaced Cavusoglu as chief negotiator with the European bloc.

Another new member is Yalcin Akdogan, one of Erdogan’s chief advisers, who has been made a deputy prime minister.

Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz retained his seat as was predicted by a Defense News article before the Cabinet reshuffle.

Davutoglu won approval for his Cabinet at a meeting with Erdogan at the presidential palace on Friday.

Erdogan was sworn in as president on Thursday, extending his more than decade-long political domination of the country. He won the presidential election on Aug. 10 with almost 52 percent of the vote. It was the first time Turks have directly elected their head of state.

An academic-turned-diplomat, Davutoglu first joined Erdogan’s government as a foreign policy adviser to the prime minister. His signature theme, “zero problems with neighbors,” has been mocked as “zero neighbors” after Turkey was left with a legacy of failure in the Middle East and beyond.

Since Davutoglu became foreign minister in 2009, Turkish foreign policy has been criticized for shifting its main strategic priorities toward Russia and China, and away from the West and the NATO military alliance.

The powers granted by the Turkish constitution to the president are largely symbolic, but Erdogan made it clear that he would introduce a de facto executive presidential system. Analysts compared the situation to Russia’s, in which Prime Minister Vladimir Putin traded jobs with President Dmitry Medvedev yet retained his grip on governmental power. ■


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