The 2017 cabinet reshuffle

Who wins and who loses? A snapshot of Turkish ministers’ fate as the government completes its post-referendum reshuffle

A comprehensive reshuffle of Turkey’s ministers has now taken place, three months after the April constitutional referendum that created an executive presidency in the country.

This the first reshuffle since after Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ditched his formal political neutrality and resumed his membership of the governing AK Party. Even though the cabinet is still led by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, this reshuffle is a good indication of who is in favour and who may have fallen from grace somewhat.

All change for the deputies

At the top, all but one of the five deputy prime ministers have been moved on or out of their roles.

Prominent among them is deputy prime minister Numan Kurtulmuş, who also acts as government spokesman, whose position has long been regarded rocky and is now demoted to the far less prominent culture and tourism portfolio.

Also moving from the deputy premiership is Nurettin Canikli, although he takes the hefty job of defence minister.

As Tuğrul Türkeş, that star transfer from the nationalist MHP in between the two 2015 elections, and Veysi Kaynak leave the cabinet entirely, their vacancies are filled with promotions for Bekir Bozdağ (formerly justice minister), Fikri Işık (defence) and Recep Akdağ (health).

Economic stability?

There was plenty of speculation that ministers whose portfolios relate to economy – namely Mehmet Şimşek (deputy prime minister), Nihat Zeybekçi (economy minister) and Naci Ağbal (finance) – would be reshuffled, perhaps to accommodate a return of Ali Babacan, the apple of foreign investors’ eye.

But a Babacan return was not to be as all three retain their roles.

The same can be said for foreign relations, where Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stays on as foreign minister (despite rumours of a swap with President Erdoğan’s spokesman, İbrahim Kalın) and Ömer Çelik remains the minister responsible for Turkey’s with the European Union, such as they are.

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