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    Turkish PM's top advisor likely to be appointed as foreign minister

    Hurriyet Daily News
    24.04.2009 - 21:05 | Son Güncelleme:

    ANKARA – The much-expected reshuffling of the Cabinet will likely be concluded within days with the surprising appointment to the Foreign Ministry of prime ministerial adviser, Prof. Ahmet Davutoglu.

    Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is planning to appoint Davutoglu, his chief foreign policy adviser and architect of the current pro-active foreign policy, as foreign minister, according to reliable sources.

     

    Though he is not a deputy, he could still enter in the Cabinet through presidential approval.

     

    According to sources, current Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will replace Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek. Babacan, an economist, held the post between 2002 and 2007 and was considered successful in comparison to Simsek.

     

    ARCHITECT OF TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY
    Davutoglu has been at the center of foreign policy since the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, came to power in 2002.

     

    An academic and author of his famous book, “Strategic Depth,” Davutoglu has always preferred to remain as a power behind the throne.

     

    Under his guidance, Turkish foreign policy has shifted from its long status quo-focused stance and became much more activist, especially in this region.

     

    He played an important role in the visit of Hamas to Turkey in 2006 which sparked strong reactions from Israel.

     

    For many, his appointment is sure to spark controversy as he is not liked among the military brass.

     

    OTHER POSSIBLE REPLACEMENTS
    The 13 ministers who have not been replaced since 2002 are Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek; state ministers Murat Basesgioglu, Mehmet Aydin and Kursad Tuzmen; Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, Interior Minister Besir Atalay, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan, Health Minister Recep Akdag, Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim, Energy Minister Hilmi Guler, and Education Minister Huseyin Celik.

     

    Of these names Tuzmen, Celik, Guler and Atalay are most likely to lose their seats.

     

    Akdag, who has been serving as health minister for seven years, may be reappointed to the Labor and Social Security Ministry on grounds that the "reform on social security and general health insurance" has transferred all the work of the Health Ministry to the Labor Ministry.

     

    In addition to a possible reshuffle, new ministries are also underway.

     

    On expected scenario is that the Culture and Tourism Ministry will be converted into two separate ministries: the Culture Ministry and the Tourism Ministry.

     

    The separation will pave the way for AKP’s Alevi, a liberal arm of Islam, deputy Reha Camuroglu to be appointed as Culture Minister, while current Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay is expected to maintain his post only as Tourism Minister.

     

    Another candidate for Culture Ministry is Menderes Turel, former Antalya mayor.

     

    The Environment and Forest Ministry may split as well. In such a case, Veysel Eroglu would remain in his office as Environment Minister while parliamentary group deputy leader Nihat Ergun would be appointed as Forest Minister.

     

    A Local Administration Ministry will also be established. AKP’s deputy leader for local administrations, Huseyin Tanriverdi, is expected to be appointed local administration minister.

     

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