Leading economy figures now in Turkish parliament

Leading economy figures now in Turkish parliament

Neşe Karanfil/Hacer Boyacıoğlu - ANKARA
Leading economy figures now in Turkish parliament

Economy professor Selin Sayek Böke from the CHP. DHA Photo

All prominent economy figures from each of Turkey’s four largest political parties have managed to enter parliament in the June 7 election. 

The shape of the country’s new economy management team was heavily speculated on ahead of the election after Ali Babacan, a key figure responsible for the economy for the last decade, opted not to run for parliament due to the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) three-term limit. In addition, opposition parties emphasized ambitious economic goals in their campaigns and formed strong economy teams to run for parliament, at a time when the Turkish economy has been slowing down due to regional conflicts and ahead of the expected rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed), among others. 

Former Borsa Istanbul head İbrahim Turhan from the AKP, economy professor Selin Sayek Böke from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), former central bank chief Durmuş Yılmaz from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and academic Sezai Temelli from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), are all now in parliament, and are expected to prominent faces in economic debates in the coming period. 

AKP cadre has old, new names

Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek is expected to retain his position if the AKP forms the government, having been elected once again from the southeastern province of Gaziantep. 

İbrahim Turhan, seen as Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s top candidate for economic management, was also elected from the first rank in the second election zone in the Aegean province of İzmir. After years in the administration of Turkey’s Central Bank, Turhan became the head of the Borsa Istanbul, the country’s main stock exchange, in 2012. 

Berat Albayrak, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law and former CEO of Çalık Holding, is also among potential names speculated to be occupying top economic positions, after being elected as an AKP deputy from Istanbul.

Another two leading figures - former finance ministry undersecretary Naci Ağbal and former customs ministry undersecretary Ziya Altunyaldız - are also now in parliament. 

CHP ambitious in economy 

Formerly an associate professor and head of the Economics Department at one of Turkey’s most prestigious universities, Selin Sayek Böke has been elected from CHP stronghold İzmir. Böke played a big role in preparing the party’s ambitious economy program ahead of the elections. 

The first president of Turkey’s banking watchdog the BDDK, Zekeriya Temizel, has also been elected from İzmir as an MP from the CHP. Temizel served as finance minister between 1997 and 1999.

If the CHP manages to join a government as part of a coalition, CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said months ago that former minister Kemal Derviş had agreed to become an independent minister outside of parliament to direct economic affairs, despite not having run for parliament. Derviş worked at the World Bank for over two decades before assuming his role as Turkey’s economy minister, taking office in 2001 when the country was in the midst of a huge financial crisis. His economy program is largely credited with having successfully taken Turkey out of the crisis by 2002.

Former Central Bank head in parliament 

Former Central Bank president Durmuş Yılmaz, who took steps in developing the country’s successful monetary policy between 2006 and 2011, has been elected from the Aegean province of Uşak as an MP from the MHP. Yılmaz was also chief economy adviser of the 11th President of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, until Gül’s presidency came to an end last year. 

Another leading economy figure elected from the ranks of the MHP is Erhan Usta, who had long been one of the closest allies of Babacan. Usta, a former Development Ministry official, ran for parliament from the Black Sea province of Samsun upon a special invitation from MHP head Devlet Bahçeli. 

HDP founder 

Sezai Temelli, a political science and economy professor from the Istanbul University, is also now in parliament. Temelli has been elected on the HDP ticket, having been one of the founders of the party.