Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

Turkey's Erdogan appoints son-in-law as finance minister

Sergei Bobylev  TASS Sergei Bobylev TASS
Laurie Berry | 12 July, 2018, 14:15

Erdogan narrowly won a referendum past year to replace Turkey's parliamentary democracy with a system featuring an all-powerful presidency, and followed that with a hard-fought election victory last month to the newly strengthened post.

The new system was agreed in a bitterly fought 2017 referendum, but the changes have been vehemently denounced by the opposition.

Four recent graduates of a top Turkish university have been arrested for displaying a cartoon mocking Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at their graduation ceremony, according to the state-run Anadolu agency.

The lira currency, which has been battered this year by concerns about President Tayyip Erdogan's drive for greater control over monetary policy, declined after the changes were published.

Turkey has extended the current state of emergency, imposed after the failed 2016 coup, seven times.

The president has promised to lift the emergency conditions later this month but in the hours before his swearing in he used to issue two more edicts.

Additionally, Turkish armed forces chief of staff General Hulusi Akar will be in charge of the defense ministry.

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Investors have previously been anxious about the independence of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he wanted to take more responsibility in his country's monetary policy.

He referred to the principles of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic and vowed to "remain loyal to the rule of law, to the democratic and secular republic, and to Ataturk's principles and reforms".

In addition to his fruitful initiatives - hailed as a turning point in the country's history - in its bid to join the EU, Erdogan has taken significant steps towards resolving the Cyprus problem and developing better relations with many countries through his active foreign policy and busy series of visits and contacts. The prime minister will not exist in the new system.

Erdogan unveiled the rebranded presidency during his inauguration at the sprawling presidential compound, saying it would bring strength, stability and efficiency to the country.

It has also emerged that Mehmet Simsek, a former banker at Merrill Lynch who acted as deputy prime minister in Turkey's previous government, will not hold a position in the new cabinet.

The AK Party took 42.5 percent in the parliamentary polls, also conducted on June 24, while its ally, the far-right National Movement Party (MHP), got 11.1 percent, enabling the two parties' bloc to secure a majority in parliament.

The lira, which has lost almost a fifth of its value against the dollar this year, dropped almost 3 per cent to 4.74 to the US currency after the cabinet announcement.

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