Turkish President Erdogan Approves Interim Government

TURKEY-ERDOGAN/ABBASAs President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan approved the interim government, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has pledged that his new cabinet up until the Nov. 1 snap election will operate like a government elected for a four-year term, challenging all those who might seek a “power vacuum” in the run-up to the election.

Davutoğlu delivered a lengthy review of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s performance in a speech delivered on Aug. 28, hours before presenting an interim cabinet list for President Erdoğan’s approval.

“With the cabinet that I will present today to the president, we will not work in the mood of a transition government. If there are jackals who say, ‘This is a transition government and it is foggy weather, let’s take to the streets in this foggy weather,’ we will not let them,” he said at an expanded meeting with his ruling AKP’s provincial chairs.

The gathering at the AKP HQ came two weeks before the party’s regular congress scheduled for Sept. 12.

“We will work with this cabinet as if we are governing Turkey for four years. By no means will we conduct this saying, ‘This is an election cabinet until Nov. 1, let’s pass the days and spend time strolling around with red license plates,’” Davutoğlu said, claiming that the AKP is not a place for anyone looking to pursue their personal advancement through use of their post.

The Erdoğan-Davutoğlu meeting at the presidential palace started with delays and took 70 minutes. The Presidency announced late Aug. 28 that Erdoğan approved Davutoğlu’s list.

Two deputies of the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), whose parties accepted to participate in the interim government, took relatively less important ministeries. Ali Haydar Konca is named as EU Minister and Müslüm Doğan as Development Minister.

Tuğrul Türkeş, who joined the government despite his Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) opposition, has become a Deputy Prime Minister.

Yılmaz replaces Babacan, Sinirlioğlu becomes FM

While Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi retained their seats in the interim government, key changes occured elsewhere.

Ali Babacan, who has been seen as Turkey’s economy tsar for years, was not eligible to continue as Deputy Prime Minister in the new government due to a term limit imposed by his party.

Cevdet Yılmaz, former Development Minister, will take over as deputy prime ministe rin charge of the economy.

Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu has been named as the new Foreign Minister, while Selami Altınok, former police chief of Istanbul, is named as the new Minister of Interior.

Davutoğlu picked Ali Rıza Alaboyun as his new Energy Minister, replacing Taner Yıldız.

Erdoğan had asked Davutoğlu to form the temporary cabinet on Aug. 25 after the AKP lost its majority in the June 7 election for the first time in 13 years and then failed to find a junior coalition partner.

The caretaker cabinet is mainly made up of ruling party legislators and independents after two main opposition parties – the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and MHP – refused to participate. Two deputies of the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) accepted invitations to join the cabinet, as did MHP’s Türkeş, who broke ranks with his party.

Erdoğan called a new election after Davutoğlu failed to form a coalition government following a parliamentary election in June.