President Gül approves Erdo?an"s new Cabinet
Abdullah Gül's first acts as the new president of Turkey on Wednesday were to attend the graduation ceremony at the Gülhane Military Academy of Medicine (GATA) and to then approve Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an's Cabinet, with minor changes to his previous Cabinet.
He Cabinet, which the prime minister said was approved by President Gül during the meeting between the two leaders, is made up of 24 ministers and the prime minister. There will be nine state ministers, three of whom also serve as deputy prime ministers.
Erdo?an had submitted his new Cabinet to former President Ahmet Necdet Sezer on Aug. 16, but Sezer had refused to see the list, expressing his belief that ?it would be more appropriate? if the new president appointed the Cabinet.
Earlier Sezer had vetoed some of the ministers in Erdo?an"s first Cabinet and made changes to the ministries of various individuals. One of the ministers proposed earlier by Erdo?an and vetoed by Sezer was Be?ir Atalay, who had been considered for the Education Ministry but later served as a state minister. Atalay will serve as the minister of interior affairs in the new Cabinet.
Members of the Cabinet
The Cabinet announced by Erdo?an includes former Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek, Hayati Yaz?c? and Naz?m Ekren as the deputy prime minister and state ministers, respectively. Yaz?c? and Ekren are new faces in the Cabinet. Ekren, a senior bureaucrat, worked together with Erdo?an during his years as the mayor of ?stanbul. Yaz?c? is a lawyer who previously represented Erdo?an and is a senior member of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
Other state ministers include Mehmet Ayd?n, the former minister of labor and social security, Murat Ba?esgio?lu, Kür?ad Tüzmen, Nimet Çubukçu, Mehmet ?im?ek and Mustafa Sait Yaz?c?o?lu. ?im?ek, who was the head of Merrill Lynch EMEA before joining Parliament, and Yaz?c?o?lu, a former head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs, are newcomers.
The former state minister for youth and sports, Mehmet Ali ?ahin, will be serving as justice minister in this new Cabinet. Vecdi Gönül will continue as the minister of defense, while Ali Babacan, a state minister in the last Cabinet, will serve as foreign minister and chief negotiator for the European Union. Kemal Unak?tan will remain the minister of finance, Hüseyin Çelik will continue as the education minister, Faruk Nafiz Özak will serve as the minister of public works and settlement, and Recep Akda? will still hold the position of health minister. Binali Y?ld?r?m will also continue as the minister of transportation, Mehdi Eker will serve as the minister of agriculture and Hilmi Güler will remain in his post as energy minister.
Further changes possible
Minor reshuffling among the members of the Cabinet and perhaps some additions are still expected since changes to the structure of certain ministries are going to be made. On Tuesday after announcing his Cabinet, Prime Minister Erdo?an also reiterated plans to separate both the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism into separate units.
The new government held its first Cabinet meeting last night at 7 p.m. shortly after all the ministers were approved by the president. The program of the new government will be presented to Parliament on Friday, Aug. 31, and discussion on it will begin the following Monday. A vote of confidence in Parliament will be cast on Wednesday, Sept. 5.
There are eight newcomers, and changes were made in the positions of 11 ministers. All ministers in the new Cabinet are pro-EU names -- a fact likely to enhance Turkey's membership negotiations. Ankara has been criticized for almost bringing to a standstill reforms required to join the bloc. The government has blamed the delays on the elections.
The prime minister arrived at the Çankaya Presidential Palace at 4 p.m. yesterday and announced his list to the press after a 1-hour-and-45-minute-long meeting with the president. The prime minister, who appeared before the press after the meeting, said the Cabinet was formed with the vision of a team possessing the competence and capability to realize the targets set for Turkey by the government. "I took it as a basis to carry the experiences of the last Cabinet to ensure continuity and at the same time create new energy and dynamism. We are in a flag race to serve the nation. We have set new targets for Turkey," he said.
The prime minister said development and reforms were carried out simultaneously in the previous term. "Our government will pursue the ideal of a free and prosperous Turkey," he stated, adding: "Freedom and welfare are an inseparable pair that feed into each other. We will work to produce more freedom and more prosperity in the new term. Everything is for the peace and happiness of our people and of Turkey -- this is what we say to continue on our path. As Atatürk wisely stated, loving the nation can only be possible by serving it."
He said preserving the atmosphere of stability and confidence would be a priority for the government in this term.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTERS
Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister Cemil Çiçek
Born in Yozgat in 1946. Graduated from the Faculty of Law at ?U. Served as Yozgat mayor before founding the Motherland Party (now ANAVATAN) with Turgut Özal.Was a state minister in Özal"s Cabinet and a justice minister in Gül and Erdo?an"s Cssabinets. Married with three children.
Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister Hayati Yaz?c?
Born in Rize in 1952. Graduated from the Faculty of Law at ?stanbul University.Was a lawyer for Erdo?an. One of the founders of the AK Party and served as the deputy chairman of the party in charge of local organizations. Married with two children.
Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister Naz?m Ekren
Born in ?stanbul in 1956. Graduated from Uluda? University and Marmara University. An expert on international banking. Was a general director for Vak?fbank and a founding member of the AK Party. Served as deputy chairman of the AK Party. Married with two children.
State Minister Mehmet Ayd?n
Born in Elaz?? in 1943. Graduated from the Faculty of Theology, Ankara University. Did postgraduate studies at Edinburgh University in Scotland. Worked as a lecturer at Dokuz Eylül University. Elected as ?zmir deputy in the 22nd term and served as the state minister. Married.
State Minister Murat Ba?esgio?lu
Born in Kastamonu in 1955. Graduated from the Faculty of Law at ?stanbul University. Was elected as Kastamonu deputy in 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd terms. Became ?stanbul deputy in 2007 elections. Former interior minister and the labor and social security minister. Married with two children.
State Minister Kür?ad Tüzmen
Born in Ankara in 1958. Graduated from the Management Department at METU. Did postgraduate studies on management in the management department, Illinois State University. Worked as an undersecretary for the DPT, the Treasury and Foreign Trade. Worked as the state minister. Married with two children.
State Minister Nimet Çubukçu
Born in Karaman in 1965. Graduated from the Faculty of Law at ?stanbul University. Was a lawyer for Erdo?an when he was mayor of ?stanbul. One of the founders of the AK Party. Served as the state minister. Married with one child.
State Minister Mehmet ?im?ek
Born in Batman. Worked as chairman of Europe, Middle East and Africa region, Economic and Strategic Research Division at Merrill Lynch. Was elected as Gaziantep deputy upon suggestion by Erdo?an.
State Minister Mustafa Sait Yaz?c?o?lu
Born in Trabzon in 1949. Graduated from the Faculty of Theology, Ankara University. Studied at Sorbonne University. Served as the head of the Religious Affairs Directorate and a member of the YÖK. Served as the dean of the Faculty of Theology, AU. Married with two children.
Public Works and Settlement Minister Faruk Nafiz Özak
Born in Trabzon in 1946. Graduated from Civil Engineering Department, Karadeniz Technical University. Was elected captain of Trabzonspor football team and sportsman of the year. Became chairman of the same club. Married with two children.
Finance Minister Kemal Unak?tan
Born in Edirne in 1946. Graduated from the Ankara Academy of Economy and Commerce. Was elected deputy in place of Erdo?an in 2002 elections when Erdo?an"s candidacy was vetoed by the YSK, and later became finance minister. Married with three children.
Energy Minister Hilmi Güler
Born in Ordu in 1946. Graduated from Metallurgy Department, METU. Served as the general director of the Machines and Chemical Industries Board (MKEK) and Etibank. Served as the energy and natural resources minister. Married with two children.
Education Minister Hüseyin Çelik
Born in Van in 1959. Graduated from Faculty of Letters, ?stanbul University. Did postgraduate studies at London University and ?stanbul University. Was a founding member of the AK Party. Served as the culture minister and education minister. Married with three children.
Foreign Minister and Chief EU Negotiator Ali Babacan
Born in Ankara in 1967. Graduated from the Industrial Engineering Department at METU. Did postgraduate studies on economics at Kellogg School of Management. Was state minister for economy and chief EU negotiator. Married with two children.
Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker
Born in Diyarbak?r in 1956. Graduated from the Veterinary Faculty, Ankara University. Served as the deputy general director of agricultural production and development at the Agriculture Ministry. Married with three children.
Environment Minister Veysel Ero?lu
Born in Afyon. Graduated from the Civil Engineering Faculty, ?stanbul University. Is a close colleague of Erdo?an. Served as the director of State Waterworks Authority. Elected Afyon deputy. Seen as promising figure for the solution of the water problem in Turkey.
Industry Minister Zafer Ça?layan
Born in Mu? in 1957. Graduated from the Mechanical Engineering Department, Gazi University. Elected chairman of the Ankara Chamber of Industry in 1995. Was re-elected deputy chairman of the TOBB in 2005. Married with two children.
Culture and Tourism Minister Ertu?rul Günay
Born in Ordu in 1948. Graduated from Faculty of Law, ?stanbul University. Comes from the left-wing political traditional. Has two books and numerous articles and interviews. Was a prominent figure in left-wing politics.
Interior Minister Be?ir Atalay
Born in Keskin, Ankara, in 1947. Graduated from the Faculty of Law at Ankara University. Removed from office by YÖK, while he was founding rector of K?r?kkale University. Became a state minister in Erdo?an"s first Cabinet. Married with four children.
Justice Minister Mehmet Ali ?ahin
Born in Ekincik in 1950. Graduated from the Faculty of Law, ?stanbul University. Worked as a lawyer. Became mayor of ?stanbul"s Fatih Municipality. Was a founding member of the AK Party. Served as the deputy prime minister. Married with four children.
Defense Minister Mehmet Vecdi Gönül
Born in Erzincan in 1939. Graduated from the Faculty of Political Sciences, Ankara University. Did postgraduate studies at the University of Southern California. Served as a deputy parliament speaker and defense minister. Married with three children.
Labor, Social Security Minister Faruk Çelik
Born in Artvin in 1956. Graduated from Y?ld?z Technical University. Worked as a teacher. Worked in the establishment of the AK Party. Married with four children.
Transportation Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m
Born in Erzincan in 1955. Graduated from Shipbuilding and Naval Sciences Faculty, ?stanbul Technical University. Served as the general director of the ?DO when Erdo?an was ?stanbul mayor. Was the transportation minister. Married with three children.
Health Minister Recep Akda?
Born in Erzurum in 1960. Graduated from Faculty of Medicine, Atatürk University. Worked as the deputy chief physician of Atatürk University"s Research Hospital and as a lecturer at Atatürk University. Was elected Erzurum deputy in the 22nd term and became health minister. Married with five children.