Ankara (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan named his government’s new cabinet on Saturday, including new heads of the economy and foreign ministry, after extending his two-decade rule in an election in May.
Following are descriptions of key figures in the cabinet:
Mehmet Simsek – Finance Minister
Former economy chief Simsek has been appointed as treasury and finance minister. He was highly regarded by financial markets when he served as finance minister and deputy prime minister between 2009 and 2018. His appointment is seen to signal a departure from years of unorthodox policy underpinned by low interest rates despite high inflation and heavy state control of markets. Prior to political roles, Simsek worked as an economist at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara and later at Merrill Lynch. He is known for his pragmatic approach and has advocated for economic reforms aimed at promoting growth, attracting foreign investment, and ensuring fiscal discipline.
Hakan Fidan – Foreign Minister
Fidan was appointed as foreign minister, replacing Mevlut Cavusoglu, who was one of the longest serving top Turkish diplomats. One of Erdogan’s closest confidants, Fidan has headed the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) since 2010, and before that was an adviser to Erdogan in the prime minister’s office. Fidan was a non-commissioned officer in the Turkish Army from 1986 to 2001 and managed the Turkish Development and Cooperation Agency from 2003 to 2007. In 2012, Fidan was the subject of an inquiry, subsequently quashed, over secret peace talks which MIT had held with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group in Oslo.
Yasar Guler – Defence Minister
Yasar Guler was appointed as defence minister. Guler, 69, who has served in the armed forces for 49 years, has been the chief of the general staff since 2018. Appointed to his position after his predecessor Hulusi Akar became defence minister, he was the military chief during Turkey’s military incursions into Syria in 2019 and 2020, and also oversaw subsequent military operations there and in Iraq.
Cevdet Yilmaz – Vice President
Cevdet Yilmaz, an orthodox economic manager, was appointed vice president. He has previously served as minister of development, deputy chairman of AK Party’s economic affairs and deputy prime minister in charge of the economy. Yilmaz, 56, has been the chairman of the Turkish Parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission since November 2020.
Ali Yerlikaya – Interior Minister
Ali Yerlikaya was appointed as interior minister and replaced Suleyman Soylu, who kept his position since 2018. Yerlikaya has been the Istanbul governor since 2018. Yerlikaya, 55, served as governor of provinces of Gaziantep, Tekirdag, Agri and Sirnak before.