Monday, 23 July, 2018

Turkey's Erdogan sworn in with new powers, appoints son-in-law as finance minister

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan greets members of parliament from his ruling AK Party during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara Turkey Erdoğan sworn in as Turkish president with enhanced powers
Jeannette Daniel | 11 July, 2018, 10:42

Those changes concentrate more power in the hands of the president.

Presidential aide Ibrahim Kalin said Erdogan would visit the mausoleum of Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, following the swearing-in ceremony.

Under the new decree, Erdogan will decide on the promotion of top army officers including colonels, brigadier generals, admirals and generals in the Turkish armed forces.

Erdogan received Morocco's Speaker of the House of Representatives Habib El Malki, who represented King Mohammed VI at the inauguration ceremony of the Turkish president in Ankara.

Erdogan previously said that there will not be any members or parliamentarians of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in the new cabinet, hinting that it will be made up of ex-politicians and bureaucrats.

He then unveiled the first cabinet under the new system, appointing his son-in-law Berat Albayrak, 40, to the crucial post of finance minister, in a move that appeared to rattle markets.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during a ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, on July 9.

The post of prime minister will be scrapped.

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Erdogan's supporters see the changes as just reward for a leader who has put Islamic values at the core of public life, championed the pious working classes and overseen years of strong economic growth.

The lira fell 3.8 percent to 4.7488 per dollar, extending one of the biggest slides across emerging markets this year.

Monday's announcements had deepened worries about the bank's independence and triggered losses in the lira, which has been hit this year by concerns about Erdogan's drive for greater control over monetary policy. He also promised to "leave behind a system that cost the country heavily because of the political, social and economic chaos it caused in the past", according to Hurriyet Daily News.

In a referendum past year, Turkish voters approved a series of comprehensive changes that granted significantly more powers to the president, eliminated the prime minister position and increased the size of the country's parliament, to name a few.

Mr Erdogan has largely ruled by fiat since 2016, when he imposed a state of emergency on the country in response to a failed coup attempt against him.

After the election victory, Erdogan removed Mehmet Simsek, previous deputy prime minister and a former Merrill Lynch banker, as well as former Finance Minister Naci Agbal. "In other words, Turkey will be an institutionalized autocracy", former EU Ambassador to Turkey Marc Pierini said. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member Turkey's relations with its Western allies have been strained by disputes with the United States over military strategy in Syria and by European Union criticism of Ankara's large-scale purges of state institutions, armed forces, police and media following the failed coup.

There are 16 ministers in Erdogan's streamlined new cabinet, which Erdogan has said will be more efficient and act faster.

Inflation surged last month above 15 percent, its highest level in more than a decade, despite interest rate hikes of 500 basis points by the central bank since April.

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