Cabinet reshuffle could occur at any time: Turkish PM

Cabinet reshuffle could occur at any time: Turkish PM

Cabinet reshuffle could occur at any time: Turkish PM

Erdoğan adresses businesspeople during the Foreign Contractors and Technical Advisors’ assessment and award ceremony, where he defended the package. AA photo

A Cabinet reshuffle could take place “at any moment,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, answering questions about whether the government was planning to nominate ministers as mayoral candidates in the upcoming local elections.

“Anything could happen,” Erdoğan told reporters on Oct. 1 at Parliament. His answer was interpreted as an indication that there were plans to appoint a limited number of his ministers as mayoral candidates in a number of critical cities.

Erdoğan is expected to announce Cabinet changes by early November, although there is no legal obligation. Due to the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) three-term rule that will prevent many ministers and other senior party officials from running for Parliament in the June 2015 elections, Erdoğan is believed to be considering appointing some as the party’s mayoral nominations.

Few hours before the Parliament opening, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has defended the democratization package against the opposition parties’ fierce criticisms of it, and stressed that it was opening a new horizon for Turkey.

PM defends package

In his address to businesspeople attending the Foreign Contractors and Technical Advisors’ assessment and award ceremony, the prime minister also answered questions on the opposition’s reactions to the democratization package.

“We have made this package in a way to answer all kinds of expectations,” he said, describing criticism from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) as “baseless.” “Expectations will never end. All faith groups in our country had different expectations.”

Appreciating how the media reflected the package, Erdoğan criticized the opposition for concentrating only on the empty side of the glass. “They have asked for years from us to reduce the election threshold. Now they criticize our proposal in this regard,” he said.

On expectations that some arrested members of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) would be released, Erdoğan said their situation was addressed through the 3rd and 4th judicial packages.

“Those who could have benefited [from these reforms] have been freed. It seems they are confusing everything,” he added.

He also responded to the criticisms of Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP). “For me, what my people tell me is important and not what he says. I kept the pulse of my people and thus this package was prepared,” Erdoğan said.

“Without a doubt, as I’ve said, this reform package will provide Turkey with important benefits in politics, democracy, peace, tranquility, and especially our fraternity. This is not a first or a last, I said that yesterday. Because we must understand that social events aren’t mathematics” Erdoğan said.

Pointing out that the democratic package was not only long overdue but was more of a “set of legal reforms” than a constitutional reform, Erdoğan also spoke of the economic benefits of the package. “The democratization package also will open a new horizon in Turkey’s economy, much as it has in all areas. Because democracy and the economy go hand in hand, you cannot have one ahead and one behind or you collapse the country. These have to go hand in hand. We have worked for this for 11 years, and we have succeeded.”

Erdoğan claimed that those opposing the package today were simply "rehashing their arguments."