Turkey's Erdogan son-in-law made finance minister amid nepotism fears

Turkey's Erdogan son-in-law made finance minister amid nepotism fears

Turkey's Erdogan son-in-law made finance minister amid nepotism fears

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been sworn in for another term as president of Turkey, inaugurating a new political system that grants the leader vast powers.

Erdogan named his son-in-law Berat Albayrak as treasury and finance minister in an updated cabinet that excluded former deputy prime minister Mehmet Simsek, seen as the main market-friendly minister in the previous government.

Erdogan said the executive presidency would put behind a "system that heavily cost our country through political, social and economic chaos".

The Turkish lira has weakened 16 percent against the dollar this year and capital has fled as Erdogan fought with his own central bank.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul have retained their portfolios in the new cabinet.

Mr Erdogan has largely ruled by fiat since 2016, when he imposed a state of emergency on the country in response to a failed coup attempt against him.

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He referred to the principles of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic and vowed to "remain loyal to the rule of law, to the democratic and secular republic, and to Ataturk's principles and reforms".

"We are embarking on this road by using this opportunity as best we can for a strong parliament, strong government and strong Turkey", he said.

"With the power granted to us by the new presidential system, we will be getting quicker and stronger results", he said as new members of parliament began to take their oath of office.

In other words, Turkey will be an institutionalised autocracy.

A ceremony at the presidential palace that will follow later on Monday was scheduled to be attended by dozens of foreign leaders and dignitaries, including Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. No major Western leader featured on a list of 50 presidents, prime ministers and other high-ranking guests published by state news agency Anadolu.

Turkey is a member of the Western military alliance, NATO, but it has been at odds with the United States over military strategy in Syria and with the European Union over Ankara´s large-scale purges of state institutions, armed forces, police and media following the failed coup. "It is a sign that Erdogan will control economic policy even more", Guillaume Tresca, a senior strategist at French bank Credit Agricole, told Reuters.

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But the pro-government daily Yeni Safak hailed it as an "historic day", saying: "One page is closing in Turkish history and a new page is opening".

Erdogan faces economic problems such as high interest rates and inflation as well as a plunging currency that has lost 17 percent of its value against the dollar since the start of 2018.

The markets were keeping a close eye on the finance ministry, keen to see a steady hand at the helm in a fast-growing economy dogged by double-digit inflation and a widening current account deficit.

Under the new system, the counting of terms starts afresh, which means he starts his first five-year term on Monday.

The five-year term served as a sort of "shield" for the central bank, helping to ensure its independence from politicians, said Ugur Gurses, a former central banker.

After winning 52.9 percent of the vote in Turkey's presidential election two weeks ago, Erdogan was granted the ability to call additional elections, appoint judges without parliamentary approval, dissolve Parliament, and issue decrees that had previously been reserved for states of emergency.

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