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New Turkish Cabinet Unlikely to Make Major Policy Shift

  • Reuters

Turkey's new Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announces his cabinet ministers in Ankara, Aug. 29, 2014.

Turkey's new Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announces his cabinet ministers in Ankara, Aug. 29, 2014.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced a new cabinet on Friday keeping key members of the economic management team in place and appointing the man who has managed Ankara's affairs with Europe as foreign minister.

Outgoing EU Affairs Minister and career diplomat Mevlut Cavusoglu becomes foreign minister, replacing Davutoglu. Yalcin Akdogan, an aide to new President Tayyip Erdogan, was named as a deputy prime minister, as was Numan Kurtulmus, the deputy chairman of the ruling AK Party.

Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, who had responsibility for economic affairs in the last cabinet, Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci all kept their posts, as did Energy Minister Taner Yildiz.

The new government assumes power at a challenging time for Turkey, with economic growth - one of the pillars on which the popularity of the AK Party is based - slowing and the map of the Middle East being rapidly redrawn around it.

The advance of Islamic State insurgents in Iraq and Syria, on Turkey's southern border, poses a major security threat. Turkey, a NATO member, is seen by Washington as a potential partner in an international campaign against the jihadists but its hands are tied by 49 Turkish hostages being held by the insurgents since June.

Erdogan, who had been prime minister since 2003, was sworn in as president on Thursday, cementing his position as Turkey's most powerful leader of recent times, in a step opponents fear heralds more authoritarian rule.

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