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    Turkey has new culture, tourism minister

    22.02.2005 - 12:08 | Son Güncelleme:

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday named Atilla Koc, a 59-year-old former career civil sevant, as Turkeys new Culture and Tourism Minister to replace Erkan Mumcu, who last week became the first member to resign from Erdogans Justice and Development Party (AKP) cabinet.

    The announcement followed a visit by Erdogan after the weekly cabinet meeting to the presidential palace for an unscheduled, two-hour meeting with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.

    The length of the talks led to speculation that the two may have discussed a wider ranging, long awaited cabinet reshuffle, but Erdogan was laconic when he spoke to reporters afterwards.

    "There was an opening at the ministry of culture and tourism and a nomination was made," he said, refusing tyo be drawn any further.

    Koc, an AKP deputy from the westen province of Aydin, has had a long career in the civil service as a governor, sub-governor and provincial police chief; he also served as general secretary for the Ankara municipality and undersecretary at the prime ministry.

    He replaced the charismatic, 42-year-old Mumcu, who resigned on February 15 from both the government and the AKP.

    Mumcus resignation came a day after he reportedly spoke out at a government meeting against plans to pardon thousands of students expelled from universities, including those kicked out for wearing Islamic headscarves.

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