Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

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.

Only hours after being sworn into office on Monday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan managed to rattle markets with a leadership shakeup, taking advantage of sweeping new powers that were decided on in a tightly contested referendum a year ago.

The new system was agreed in a bitterly fought 2017 referendum, but the changes have been vehemently denounced by the opposition.

Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Saturday nominated Yildirim as parliament speaker, an appointment likely to be rubber-stamped by the chamber on Thursday.

"We, as Turkey and as the Turkish people, are making a new start here today", Erdogan said in an address late on Monday.

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Erdogan has also pledged to end the state of emergency that has been in place since the failed July 2016 coup and which has seen the biggest purge in the history of modern Turkey.

The president has promised to lift the emergency conditions later this month but in the hours before his swearing in he used to issue two more edicts.

Erdogan would become both the head of state and government, with the prime minister's post abolished.

The introduction of the new presidential system is the biggest overhaul of governance since the Turkish republic was established on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire almost a century ago.

After the swearing-in ceremony, Mr Erdogan visited the mausoleum of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk before proceeding to the Presidential Complex to make his inaugural speech. "There is no stopping for us until we bring Turkey - which we saved from plotters, coupists and political and economic hitmen, street gangs and terrorist organisations - to among the top 10 economies in the world", he said.

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His supporters see them as just reward for a leader who has put Islamist values at the core of public life, championed the pious working classes and built airports, hospitals and schools.

Turkey narrowly approved the executive presidency in a contentious referendum past year.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was present, in a new sign of the warm ties between Ankara and Moscow, as was Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, regarded with disdain by Washington but an ally of Erdogan. No major Western leader featured on a list of 50 presidents, prime ministers and other high-ranking guests published by state news agency Anadolu. In the evening, he'll mark the inauguration of the presidential system at a grand reception attended by foreign dignitaries, before unveiling the members of a cabinet expected to be pared to 16 positions from the current 27.

Erdogan will this week immediately turn to foreign policy, visiting northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan, followed by more challenging encounters at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels where he will meet US President Donald Trump and other leaders.

Inflation surged last month above 15 percent, its highest level in more than a decade, despite interest rate hikes of 500 basis points by the central bank since April.

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Turkey's lira plunged after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appointed his son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, as economic chief of his new administration, fueling investor unease that the government can calm financial markets. An adviser to Erdogan later said that the governor's term would remain at five years.

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