New cabinet with few, but substantive changes

Published 30.08.2014 00:45

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced his new cabinet, which was in essence the continuation of the Recep Tayyip Erdoğan government, with few but substantive changes.

It is clear that neither Erdoğan nor Davutoğlu wanted to rock the boat too much as Turkey heads toward the 2015 parliamentary elections in June but also wanted to prepare for a future cabinet after the elections if and when the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) remains in office.

Thus Davutoğlu brought in Professor Numan Kurtulmuş with the blessing of Erdoğan to start easing in the economic administration of the country as Ali Babacan continues to steer the economy. Kurtulmuş was brought into the party by Erdoğan as new blood whose honesty has been held in high esteem by the Turkish people.
Erdoğan, as well as Davutoğlu, wants to give the image that they will continue with clean people in the future who have not been stained by the corruption allegations of the past.

Babacan has managed to steer the boat through troubled waters with success thus keeping a healthy macroeconomic picture for Turkey. However, it is clear that in the upcoming future Turkey has to start promoting an economy that produces goods instead of earning money from money.
Numan Kurtulmuş will be the key to this effort not only because he is a good economics professor but also because he has a vision, he has talent and the energy to face the challenges.

So when Ali Babacan departs after the 2015 elections because, like many other leading ministers who served under Erdoğan, he cannot seek a fourth term because all AK Party deputies can only be elected for three consecutive terms, it will be Kurtulmuş who will be the new boss of Turkey's economy.

It is clear Prime Minister Davutoğlu will remain at the steering wheel of foreign relations while the talented and resourceful Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu tries to cope with the heavy load of being foreign minister. The former post of Çavuşoğlu is being filled with former ambassador Volkan Bozkır who was a career diplomat in charge of EU Affairs. Thus we will see an expert leading the EU Ministry who will also be Turkey's chief negotiator at the EU full membership talks.

Last but not least the fact that a right-hand man of Erdoğan's is placed as deputy prime minister to oversee the reconciliation process with the Kurds shows that the government will put special emphasis on this issue in the days to come and wants Yalçın Akdoğan to be at the steering wheel.

Thus Professor Beşir Atalay, a close associate of former President Abdullah Gül, is out of the cabinet to be replaced by Yalçın Akdoğan. However, those who may think Atalay is being eliminated are wrong. Atalay is a valuable asset to the AK Party and will be needed to bolster the political structure of the party as it heads for the 2015 elections. The same is valid for former Transportation and Communications Minister Binali Yıldırım, who is one of the leading advisors to Erdoğan and will probably play an important role in the administration of the country. The same is valid for outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Emrullah İşler and Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazıcı, who is also a close confidant of Erdoğan, will probably have important roles to play in the AK Party.

So the cabinet is new but most faces are old. Those that are new are the freshmen who are being groomed for the future administration of the country after the 2015 polls.

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