Turkey’s new foreign, EU ministers take over from predecessors

Turkey’s new foreign, EU ministers take over from predecessors

Turkey’s new foreign, EU ministers take over from predecessors

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (L) and Volkan Bozkır congratulate each other during the handover ceremony at the EU Ministry in Ankara, Aug. 29. AA Photo

Outgoing EU Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has been appointed as Turkey's new foreign minister to replace Ahmet Davutoğlu, while Volkan Bozkır has taken over at the EU Affairs Ministry, after Turkey's new Cabinet was announced on Aug. 29.

Çavuşoğlu is familiar with European institutions and EU affairs, having considerable experience in the Council of Europe.

In his first statement after the announcement of the new Cabinet, Çavuşoğlu expressed his thanks for his assignment to this “important and honorable post” and said he would do his best “for the sake of the country and foreign policy, working night and day.”

“I am happy to be Davutoğlu’s successor,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters Aug. 29 at Ankara's Kocatepe Mosque, where he attended Friday prayers alongside the new prime minister.

He also mentioned “300-year-old ties” with Davutoğlu, citing the Yörük (Turkish nomads in Anatolia) ancestry that both share.

He also stressed his faith in the success of new EU Minister Volkan Bozkır, saying he had known the latter for a long time.

Çavuşoğlu, a founding member of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), had served as EU minister since 2013. He replaced EU Minister Egemen Bağış in 2013 after Bağış was accused of bribery following the Dec. 17, 2013 graft probe and bribery investigation.

First elected to Parliament in 2002, he represents the province of Antalya at Parliament. He served as deputy chairman of the AKP in charge of foreign affairs and then took over as chairman of the Turkey-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Caucus in 2013.

Çavuşoğlu joined the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 2003 and was then named president of the body from 2010 to 2012. As foreign minister at the time, Ahmet Davutoğlu was the first Turkish official to visit Strasbourg in order to celebrate with Çavuşoğlu at around midnight, stopping on his way back from London.

Çavuşoğlu was born on Feb. 5, 1968 in Alanya and received his BA Degree from the Department of International Relations at Ankara University. He obtained his Master’s Degree in Economics from Long Island University in New York, and completed his doctoral research in “Environmental Economy and Sustainable Development” at the London School of Economics.

Veteran diplomat

Former career diplomat Volkan Bozkır, who has a long record on EU affairs, replaced Çavuşoğlu as the minister in charge of ties with the EU.

Bozkır has been the chair of Parliament’s Foreign Relations Commission since 2011, the same year he was elected as an Istanbul deputy. 

He served as deputy undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry assigned for EU affairs and was then assigned as Turkey’s permanent representative to the EU in Brussels. He also served as the head of the Secretariat-General for EU Affairs (ABGS).

“EU membership is Turkey’s strategic target,” Bozkır told Anadolu Agency in his first statement after the announcement of the Cabinet.

"The EU accession process is important for Turkey to attain more significant standards and higher levels of prosperity," he added.