Erdoğan to chair Cabinet for first time as president on Jan. 5
Nuray Babacan ANKARA
‘Now, in line with Turkey’s goals and vision, the presidential office is being restructured,’ ruling AKP İzmir deputy Binali Yıldırım (2 L) says. AA PhotoTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will chair a Cabinet meeting for the first time in his current capacity on Jan. 5, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Izmir deputy Binali Yıldırım has announced, adding that such meetings presided by Erdoğan would subsequently take place every two months.
Yıldırım, a long-time comrade of Erdoğan, also argued that describing the newly-formed working groups in the presidency as a “shadow cabinet” is “unfair,” saying that the president could not avoid using executive authority after coming to office with 52 percent of the vote in the August 2014 election.
“A president who came to office with the support of 52 percent of voters in Turkey cannot just say ‘I’m not intervening in anything,’” he said.
“Now, in line with Turkey’s goals and vision, the presidential office is being restructured. Founding boards to represent Turkey’s important affairs is logical. For example, what can be more logical than founding a board of experts concerning the resolution process? Forming units representing investments or the economy is also within the same framework,” Yıldırım added.
Last week, a decree paved the way for an increase in the number of directorate-generals in the presidential office from four to 13. The previous departments were in charge of administrative and financial affairs, institutional communication, information technologies and human resources.
The new departments will be in charge of a wide range of affairs, such as homeland security, external relations, the economy, defense, investment monitoring, energy and social affairs.
“This is not an alternative to the government. Labeling it a ‘shadow cabinet’ is unfair,” said Yıldırım, a former transport minister under Erdoğan, who has been working as a senior adviser to the president since the latter was elected to his current post in August.
“Experts will be employed for the new units formed at the presidency. Currently, there are 650 staff members and this number may rise to 1,000. The president is building a structure that will provide him with logistical support in line with the 2023 vision and with regard to fundamental issues, such as the peace process, security, investments and foreign policy,” Yıldırım said.
He also touched on Erdoğan’s appointment of İbrahim Kalın, who was previously serving as deputy secretary-general at the presidential office, as the presidential spokesperson. “The presidential spokesperson’s office was already being used as an institution. It is an appropriate position for a person [such as Kalın] who has dealt with external affairs and foreign policy in regards to international visits and visitors from abroad,” Yıldırım said.