Reshuffle in Turkish cabinet

Reshuffle in Turkish cabinet

I’m curious what will happen if certain cabinet ministers are changed this week. Let us assume that the foreign minister is changed. Will Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s replacement, who will still be from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), make substantial changes to Turkey’s foreign policy? 

If the environment and urbanization minister is changed, will the new minister open a new era in urbanization and environment policies? Will a new justice minister have a magic wand to solve the essential problems in Turkey’s justice system? As development minister, can there be a more experienced name than Lütfi Elvan? 

You could ask the same question for every minister. 

Several politicians in Ankara I have spoken to emphasize that the cabinet reshuffle will not cause any changes in the AK Party government line. No major changes are expected by anyone. 

The recent changes in the AK Party administration were not substantial either. The party’s central administration and the current government have both been determined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım.  

What will the main factors of the expected cabinet reshuffle be? What will be the factors that markets and foreign investors constantly talk about? Which ministers will be changed and why? 

As far as I see, there are three criteria. 

The first is the balance of hometowns and the position of names who have a particular weight. In the current cabinet, ministers were chosen from a few critical cities, while we also monitored the effort of certain names from former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s government to remain in the cabinet.  

But now, if a reshuffle is made in the cabinet, calculations related to a minister’s hometown, or related to their closeness to Davutoğlu or former President Abdullah Gül will not be made. 

The second criterion is the failure of certain aspects in the referendum. In Antalya, Denizli, Mersin, Adana and Eskişehir, the “no” vote in the referendum won. There may be a price to pay for these results. 

The third criterion is likely to be rumors of associations with the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

Even though President Erdoğan and Prime Minister Yıldırım slam the opposition’s demand for an investigation into the political leg of FETÖ, and even though they stand firmly against the implications that AK Party members are associated with FETÖ, it would be difficult to stop rumors of the “FETÖ effect.” 

When President Erdoğan was asked about the cabinet reshuffle, he pointed to Prime Minister Yıldırım, who in turn smiled off the questions. An important source has told me that if there is going to be a cabinet reshuffle, it will take place this week. However, the changes will be limited, just like the party top administration changes. 

My personal prediction is that three ministers will be removed and one or two ministers will be reshuffled around. New faces may enter the cabinet, pulling the age average down. I also think the possibility of seeing a minister from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in the new cabinet is close to zero.