Reshuffled cabinet holds its first meeting with newcomers
The reshuffled Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, yesterday held its first meeting with its newcomers and standing members in new positions. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced changes to the Cabinet late last week after getting President Abdullah Gul's approval. Ten ministers kept their seats and nine new names joined the Cabinet, while eight lost their seats in the reshuffle. Seven were shuffled to different posts in the 27-member Cabinet. The new foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, formerly Erdogan's foreign policy advisor, was appointed from outside Parliament. The newcomers took over their duties with official handover ceremonies yesterday, including Turkey's first female education minister, Nimet Cubukcu. During the swearing-in, her predecessor Huseyin Celik said under his leadership the Education Ministry had initiated many important projects, adding that Cubukcu would find a ready road map for the future. For her part, Cubukcu, former state minister for women and children's affairs, said she was honored by her new appointment, adding that she hopes to boost the number of girls attending school. State Minister for Foreign Trade Kursad Tuzmen handed over his post to Zafer Caglayan, until recently industry and trade minister. During the handover ceremony, Tuzmen said that under his seven-year tenure Turkey's exports had risen from $36 billion $132 billion, adding that improving boosting Turkey's trade ties worldwide has been a key foreign policy goal. Speaking to reporters after the new Cabinet's first meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Cemil Cicek said during the gathering the distribution of duties among the state ministers had been decided. Accordingly, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc will be responsible for the Anatolia News Agency, the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), the Directorate General of Press and Information (BYEGM), the Foundations Directorate General, and the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTUK). Arinc will also be responsible for government relations with the Council of State. Cicek also told reporters that new border trade arrangements, a new Interior Ministry undersecretariat to better combat terrorism, and planned constitutional changes were also discussed during the meeting.