Erdogan reorganizes the government and appoints a former Belgian political minister |  outside

Erdogan reorganizes the government and appoints a former Belgian political minister | outside

After being sworn in as President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan reorganized most of his government. His focus appears to be on the economy and security. The only woman in the cabinet is Mahinur Özdemir Göktas. The former Belgian politician will be the new Turkish Minister for Family Affairs.

The politician was born in Belgium and was a municipal councilor in Schaerbeek. In 2009, she was elected as the first headscarf-wearing politician in the Parliament of Brussels, for the Christian Democratic Party CdH. When she refused to recognize the Armenian Genocide in 2015, she was expelled from the party. Then she sat as an independent in the municipal council of Charbeek and in the Brussels Parliament. In 2020, she was appointed ambassador to Algeria by the Turkish government. Last Saturday, Erdogan presented her as the new Minister of Family Affairs.

The President also appointed Mehmet Şimşek, a respected economist in the financial markets, as Minister of Finance. Türkiye is currently struggling with an official inflation rate of around 44 percent. Experts blame Erdogan’s policy, which has so far kept interest rates low against the economic logic of fighting inflation. Simsk represents a traditional fiscal and economic policy: it is expected to abandon the policy of low interest rates.

Erdogan presented his new government team on Saturday. © Reuters

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Intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, an old confidant of Erdogan, becomes foreign minister. This indicates that the president’s policy will focus on security in the coming years. Mevlut Cavusoglu, who held the position for nearly ten years, is no longer part of the government. President Erdogan appointed Chief of Staff Yasir Guler as Minister of Defense, and his former aide Cevdet Yilmaz will become Vice President. Ali Yerlikaya, the former governor of Istanbul, will be the new interior minister.

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Only Health Minister Fahrettin Koca and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy retained their positions as former members of the Cabinet.

Erdogan was re-elected in the second round of the presidential elections last Sunday, with 52 percent of the vote. On May 14, the AKP and its partners won the majority in Parliament. The elections were seen as unfair due to the AKP and President Erdoğan’s control of the country’s government apparatus and media.

Left: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  Right, archive photo of Mahinur Özdemir Göktas.
Left: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Right, archive photo of Mahinur Özdemir Göktas. © AFP/News Photo

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