Removing the ‘interim' tag, economy ministers ready for a second-phase

ŞEYMA ERAZ @seymaeraz
Published 24.11.2015 23:43
Updated 24.11.2015 23:45
Removing the ‘interim' tag, economy ministers ready for a second-phase

The managers of the economy in Turkey's 64th government are expected to realize a second-phase of economic transformation. The new cabinet sees a mixture of experienced figures and new faces

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced Turkey's 64th government's Cabinet members yesterday. After six months of political uncertainty, the government has now shaken off the "interim" tag with political instability one of the major factors in creating a lack of confidence in the Turkish markets. Because of that, ministers assigned to economy-related ministries have been a key concern. In the new Cabinet, while there are some politicians with whom Turkish people are familiar, there are also new figures.

Davutoğlu named his deputy prime ministers, however, he didn't mention their areas of responsibilities. But, it will not be a surprise if Mehmet Şimşek is responsible for governing the economy. Mehmet Şimşek has been a deputy for the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) for eight years. The 48-year-old deputy prime minister has served as a state minister responsible for the economy for two years, which is now named the Economy Ministry, and has been finance minister since 2009. He instilled confidence in the markets during his terms thanks to his reputation as a cautious operator. With a bachelor's degree in economics from Ankara University's Political Science Faculty, Şimşek has working experience in international investment banks like UBS and Merrill Lynch.

Former Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Binali Yıldırım retained his position at the ministry. Berat Albayrak is the Energy and Natural Resources Minister, while Fikri Işık maintained his position as Science, Industry and Technology Minister. These ministries are considered line ministries, while the Economy Ministry and Finance Ministry act mostly as regulators and coordinators in their fields.

Albayrak, who was elected as an Istanbul deputy from the AK Party in the June 7 elections, was re-elected as a deputy on Nov. 1 as well. The new energy minister, also a Sabah economy columnist, has held high-level positions at numerous national and international companies. He is also a board member of Turkuvaz Media Group. Albayrak lectures in the fields of banking and finance at Marmara University. After studying finance at New York Pace University, Albayrak became the CEO of Çalık Holding, where he gained more experience in the energy sector. Albayrak also holds a PhD in finance and banking. Albayrak studied "Financing Renewable Energy Resources" during his PhD.

Yıldırım was Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications minister between 2002 and 2013, but he took a four-month breaks twice in 2007 and in 2011. He has been known as a "man of action" and a "workaholic." As a politician he has developed a reputation as someone who prefers to talk about projects rather than politics. Born in 1955, Yıldırım graduated from the Department of Maritime Transportation and Management Engineering at Istanbul Technical University.

The new economy minister, Mustafa Elitaş, 58, was elected as a Kayseri deputy in the Nov. 1 elections. Before entering politics, Elitaş was an industrialist and he also served in the administration of the Kayseri Organized Industrial Zone and Kayseri Association of Industrialists and Businessman (KAYSİAD). Elitaş served as a deputy from Kayseri in the 22nd and 23rd Parliaments as well as the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) deputy chairman.

The new finance minister, Naci Ağbal, 47, served as the Finance Ministry undersecretary between 2009 and 2015. He has served in the ministry since 1989 until he resigned to run on the AK Party ticket during the June 7 elections. Ağbal was also the AK Party's deputy chairman in charge of the economy since Sept. 13.

Business communities in the country have expressed their happiness with the new Cabinet, according to their press releases. They all underlined the need for second-phase structural reforms and said that the new Cabinet gives them hope that the country can achieve this transformation. "We expect a program of implementation that will keep our gains while transforming our economy," Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) Chairman Ömer Cihad Vardan said.

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