Reshuffled cabinet to hold first meeting tomorrow
After meeting with President Abdullah Gul at the Cankaya Presidential Palace late Friday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a major Cabinet reshuffle, with nine new ministers, ten ministers retained, and eight gone. Among those who lost their seats are Deputy Prime Minister Nazim Ekren, Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin, Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan, Education Minister Huseyin Celik, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Mehmet Hilmi Guler, State Minister Murat Basesgioglu, State Minister Kursad Tuzmen and State Minister Mustafa Said Yazicioglu. Erdogan said those removals had nothing to do with any mistakes made by the officials. The most striking appointments were those of former Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc and Ahmet Davutoglu, Erdogan's chief foreign policy advisor, now named foreign minister from outside Parliament, taking over the post from Ali Babacan. Babacan was made a deputy prime minister responsible for coordinating the country's economy. Arinc became one of the three deputy prime ministers. The last deputy prime minister is still Cemil Cicek, who kept his seat. Selma Aliye Kavaf and Cevdet Yilmaz, two of the Cabinet's nine new faces, became ministers of state. Other newcomers are Nihat Ergun as industry and commerce minister, Sadullah Ergin as justice minister, Omer Dincer as labor and social security minister, Taner Yildiz as energy and natural resources minister, and Mustafa Demir as public works and housing minister. Retaining their seats are State Minister and chief negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, Interior Minister Besir Atalay, Health Minister Recep Akdag, Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister Mehdi Eker, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay and Environment and Forestry Minister Veysel Eroglu. Besides Babacan, six other ministers' positions were changed in the Cabinet. Hayati Yazici was appointed minister of state from the position of deputy prime minister, and former State Ministers Mehmet Simsek and Nimet Cubukcu became the finance and education ministers, respectively. Faruk Nafiz Ozak, Zafer Çaglayan and Faruk Celik also left their posts to become state ministers. The distribution of duties among the state ministers has not yet been determined and will be announced later. "I decided to make changes in the economic administration," Erdogan told reporters. "We wanted the economy minister to be much more powerful and manage the economy with a single hand." Babacan, state minister for the economy before his recent posting as foreign minister, will be the economy's new coordinator. The revamped Cabinet is set to have its first meeting tomorrow.