In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan tempted by the return to monetary orthodoxy

In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan tempted by the return to monetary orthodoxy

2023-06-06 11:00:07

The economy, the fight against terrorism and Sweden’s entry into NATO were on the agenda of the new Council of Ministers which was held on Monday June 5 in Ankara. The saddle of the new team, named Saturday by the re-elected president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, closes an electoral period full of uncertainties.

The “government of the century”, in reference to the upcoming centenary of the Turkish Republic, on October 29, 2023, is composed of eighteen ministers; the government team is completely renewed, with the exception of the ministry of health and that of culture and tourism.

The trombinoscope of the new team has been looping on the news channels since Saturday. The new composition draws a liberal government on the economic level and conservative on the societal level, in continuity with the previous governments. The game of musical chairs around the presidency keeps those close to Erdogan in key positions, such as Ibrahim Kalin, the former diplomatic adviser to the president, appointed head of Turkish intelligence.

Also read the portrait: Article reserved for our subscribers Recep Tayyip Erdogan the unsinkable

The name of the future treasury and finance minister was the subject of particular attention, as the country was plunged into a major economic crisis. Inflation reached 64.3% in 2022 according to official figures (against 138% according to ENAG, an independent group of economists), and the national currency lost more than 78% of its value against the dollar since 2018.

During the announcement of the composition of the government, Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed, to loud applause, the appointment to this post of the liberal Mehmet Simsek. This choice has been widely interpreted as the beginnings of a return to orthodox policies that would make it possible to clean up the country’s economy.

“Return to a rational basis”

Trained in the United Kingdom, Mehmet Simsek, 56, enjoys an international reputation in the world of finance, particularly after a stint in the American investment bank Merrill Lynch. He had already held ministerial positions: at the Ministry of Finance between 2009 and 2015, then as Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the economy until 2018. “Transparency, consistency, predictability and respect for international standards will be our basic principles to achieve this goal in the coming period. Turkey has no choice but to return to a rational basis”declared the new minister during the handover ceremony, alongside his predecessor, Nureddin Nebati.

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