Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Turkey's Erdogan Starts Presidential Rule, Names Son-in-Law as Finance Minister


In April 2017, 51 percent of Turkish voters endorsed constitutional changes backed by Erdogan, which scrapped the post of prime minister and allowed the president to appoint ministers and vice presidents and intervene in the legal system.

Only hours after being sworn into office on Monday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan managed to rattle markets with a leadership shakeup, taking advantage of sweeping new powers that were decided on in a tightly contested referendum previous year.

Turkey's incoming finance minister, the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Tuesday vowed to bring inflation down to single digits as he seeks to win over investors spooked by his appointment.

"We have come not to be master but to be servant of our people", he added. He had served as the energy and natural resources minister since 2015.

President Erdogan invited President Lungu along with Gabonese President Ali Bongo, Jose Mario Vaz of Guinea Bissau and Equatorial Guinea President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema to his inauguration.

Assuming the new executive presidency he has long fought to establish, Erdogan earlier took the oath of office in parliament before addressing worldwide leaders gathered at the presidential palace in Ankara. The issue continues to polarize public opinion in Turkey.

The president now sits at the top of a vertical power structure marked by a slimmed-down government with 16 ministries instead of 26 and multiple bodies reporting to him.

"Turkey is entering a new era with the presidential oath ceremony on Monday", Erdogan told his ruling AK Party at the weekend.

In one of the most significant changes, the European Union affairs ministry, set up in 2011 to oversee Turkey's faltering bid to join the bloc, will be subsumed into the foreign ministry.

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Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said emergency rule wouldn't be extended after July 18, but that may be a technicality. He is expected to become speaker of the new parliament.

Those attending the ceremony at the presidential palace on Monday evening will include Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, in a new sign of the warm ties between Ankara and Moscow.

In a tweet, Maduro hailed Erdogan as a "friend of Venezuela and leader of the new multi-polar world".

What does this mean for the United States?

The markets will keep a close eye on economic appointments, keen to see a steady hand at the helm in a fast-growing economy dogged by double-digit inflation and a widening current account deficit. The lira, which is down some 16 percent so far this year, firmed to its highest level since mid-June before falling back to 4.61 against the dollar.

Ruhsar Pekcan, one of just two women in the cabinet, was named as trade minister.

It was also announced in the Official Gazette that Erdogan had appointed ground forces commander general Yasar Guler as the new chief of the general staff, replacing general Hulusi Akar, who was appointed defence minister in the new government.

The AKP failed to win a majority in parliament, taking 294 of the 600 seats, meaning it will need its allies in the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which has 49 seats, to ensure a majority.

On the eve of Monday's inauguration authorities dismissed more than 18,000 state employees - a lot of them from the police and army - in what the government said would be the final decree under emergency rule imposed following a failed 2016 coup.

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