Turkish PM Davutoğlu forms 64th government of Turkey

Turkish PM Davutoğlu forms 64th government of Turkey

Turkish PM Davutoğlu forms 64th government of Turkey

AFP photo

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has approved a cabinet list drafted by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, one week after commissioning the premier to form a new cabinet in the wake of the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) victory in the Nov. 1 elections.

Erdoğan asked Davutoğlu, who is also the head of the AKP, to form a new government on Nov. 17.

“There is a horizon before this government to march toward 2023. We will fulfill all promises we made, we will make structural reforms and we will work to draft a civilian constitution. The mission of this government is first of all to represent the nation; second, to carry the country to the future; and third, to make a new Turkey which surpasses the level of contemporary civilization,” Davutoğlu told reporters following a 90-minute meeting at the presidential palace.

The government will serve the people without making distinction on whether or not they supported the AKP, Davutoğlu said, describing his government’s commitment as serving the people in line with the principle of “democratic accountability.”

The considerable delay in Erdoğan and Davutoğlu’s meeting on Nov. 24 prompted speculation as to whether there was a disagreement between the two, with Erdoğan, the founding leader of the AKP, reportedly aspiring to have his “loyalists” dominate the cabinet.

There was particular speculation about the fate of former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, a darling of investors who has long played a leading role in managing the economy. His possible appointment was seen as a key barometer of how much influence Erdoğan wields. Ultimately, Babacan was not offered any seat in the cabinet, although he was tipped for a possible role at the Foreign Ministry.

Babacan, who frequently found himself at odds with Erdoğan’s demands to cut interest rates in recent months against the background of a plunging lira currency and deep political uncertainty, was reportedly persuaded to continue his political career with the AKP in the Nov. 1 elections thanks to the personal efforts of Davutoğlu. However, Babacan was said to be unwilling to take part in the government if he was not given control over the economy.

Istanbul deputy Berat Albayrak, Erdoğan’s son-in-law, who was also being touted for a possible role in economic management, was appointed as the new energy and natural resources minister.  

With Davutoğlu holding the Prime Ministry, he picked existing deputy prime ministers Numan Kurtulmuş, Yalçın Akdoğan and Tuğrul Türkeş to resume their posts in the 64th government of the Republic of Turkey.

Türkeş is a former member of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) who joined the party during the formation of an interim government after coalition talks failed following the June 7 parliamentary elections.

Former Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek and former Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Lütfi Elvan were also appointed as deputy prime ministers in the new cabinet.

A veteran figure of the AKP and a close aide to Erdoğan, Binali Yıldırım was appointed to head the Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Ministry.

Davutoğlu included two women in his new cabinet: the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry portfolio will be held by Fatma Güldemet Sarı, while Sema Ramazanoğlu was named the new family and social affairs minister.

Former Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu returned to this post with Erdoğan’s approval, while former Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz, former Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, former Interior Minister Efkan Ala, former Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz, former Education Minister Nabi Avcı and former EU Minister Volkan Bozkır also returned to their posts.

The following are the remaining appointments: Economy Minister Mustafa Elitaş; Finance Minister Naci Ağbal; Youth and Sports Minister Akif Çağatay Kılıç; Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu; Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu; Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Işık; Labor and Social Security Minister Süleyman Soylu; Food, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Faruk Çelik; Customs and Trade Minister Bülent Tüfenkçi; and Culture and Tourism Minister Mahir Ünal.

Reminiscent of the 62nd government

The cabinet list presented by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and approved on Nov. 24 by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to form the 64th government of the Republic of Turkey is reminiscent of the cabinet list of the 62nd government, the first-ever government formed by Davutoğlu in August 2014.

Davutoğlu had formed the 62nd government upon being elected as the leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) after Erdoğan became the Turkish president in a popular vote. At this year’s party congress, Davutoğlu was reelected as party leader.

The 62nd government served until late August this year. Having taken the country to parliamentary elections in June 7, and after exhausting fruitless talks to form of a coalition government, Davutoğlu formed an interim government which took the country to the Nov. 1 snap elections. 

Despite key changes, many in the new cabinet are well-known names who served in the one-year government under Davutoğlu between August 2014 and August 2015.

However, there are some key differences, such as former deputy prime ministers Bülent Arınç and Ali Babacan not taking part in the new government, while Yalçın Akdoğan and Numan Kurtulmuş will serve as deputy prime ministers again.

Accordingly, here are the ministers appointed to the same post they held in the 62nd government: Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, EU Minister Volkan Bozkır, Interior Minister Efkan Ala, Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, Youth and Sports Minister Akif Çağatay Kılıç, Education Minister Nabi Avcı, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz, Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu, Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu and Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Işık.

Meanwhile, Mehmet Şimşek, who served as finance minister in the 62nd government, and Lütfi Elvan, who served as transportation, maritime affairs and communications minister in the same government, were both appointed as deputy prime ministers on Nov. 24.

Faruk Çelik, who served as labor and social security minister of the 62nd government, has become the new government’s food, agriculture and livestock minister.

The ministers from the 62nd government not included in the new cabinet were Taner Yıldız, Mehdi Eker, Ömer Çelik, İdris Güllüce, Mehdi Eker and Nurettin Canikli.