Erdogan Replaces Half His Cabinet Amid Corruption Scandal

December 25, 2013  

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan replaced half the ministers in his cabinet on Wednesday evening, hours after three ministers resigned over a corruption and bribery investigation, reports Today’s Zaman.

Erdogan introduced 10 new names to ministries in a major cabinet reshuffle. He presented his new cabinet to President Abdullah Gul.

Erdogan said before announcing the new Cabinet that some ministers were already expected to leave their positions as they were named as candidates to run for mayoral posts on behalf of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in several cities in the upcoming local elections.

Nihat Zeybekçi became new Economy Minister after the resignation of Zafer Çağlayan who faces allegations of bribery.

Efkan Ala, Undersecretary of the Prime Ministry, was named Interior Minister after Muammer Güler resigned over allegations of bribery.

AK Party İstanbul Deputy İdris Güllüce has become new Environment and Urban Planning Minister after Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar resigned.

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was named EU Minister, and Ayşe İslam was named Family and Social Policies Minister, Fikri Işık was named Science, Industry and Technology Minister and Akif Çağatay Kılıç has become the new Youth and Sports Minister.

Karaman Deputy Lütfü Elvan became new Minister of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications as Binali Yıldırım, who held the position for 11 years, faces allegations of corruption in a major high-speed rail line project.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ was named new Justice Minister and Emrullah İşler has become new Deputy Prime Minister.

Erdogan has been feeling the pressure over the scandal. On Saturday, he issued a veiled threat to expel the American ambassador, over comments attributed to the latter criticizing Halkbank CEO Suleyman Aslan.

The Prime Minister and head of the Islamist AKP party was until recently enjoying a position of unprecedented stability, but has since been battered by a series of domestic and foreign policy crises, including the popular Gezi Park protests and a break with one-time allies Damascus and Tehran over the Syrian civil war.

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