On 24 May new Prime Minister Binali Yildirim presented his new cabinet, with nine new ministers. Two days before, president Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave the former transport minister and close ally, Binali Yildirim, the mandate of chairmanship of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). In doing so, Yildirim automatically became the new Prime Minister as well.
The nine ministers who were replaced are: Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan, Culture and Tourism Minister Mahir Ünal, EU Minister Volkan Bozkır, Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu, Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz, Family and Social Policies Minister Sema Ramazanoğlu, Environment and Urban Planning Minister Fatma Güldemet Sarı and Economy Minister Mustafa Elitaş. These are small changes, most key figures remain in place. Erdogan admitted he was involved in the selection of these ministers. He said: "The prime minister presented me with a list last night. I worked on that list. This morning, we held a consultation after which I gave my approval.”
Yildirim will replace Ahmet Davutoğlu, who resigned from his post earlier this month because of differences – for example on negotiations with the EU – with president Erdogan. The two had for example other opinions about negotiations with the EU. Former President Abdullah Gul and former parliament speaker Bulent Arinc, both “old friends” of the president Erdogan were replaced in a similar way. They both joined a new group of AKP dissidents who mildly complain but however, never rebel against the current state of affairs.
Switch to presidential system
Former PM Davutoğlu was critical on president Erdogan’s plans to change the country’s governmental system from parliamentary to presidential. Right now the Turkish constitution requires a parliamentary system in which the president is only a formal position for uniting all segments of the society and parties. The move of replacing Davutoğlu showed Turkey is already de facto an executive presidential system. A senior official said: "We have entered a period of a 'de facto' presidential system, where Erdogan's policies will be implemented very clearly." However, to formalize the constitutional change a referendum is needed with the approval of two-third of the parliament.
EP President Martin Schulz criticized Erdoğan's move when he said: “We see Turkey under Erdoğan on its way to being a one-man-state,” describing the move as a “breath-taking departure from European values.” The Turkey-EU migrant deal comes into question, which former PM Davutoğlu helped to negotiate. Schulz also said the EP would not start debating the visa-free travel, until the country fulfilled all the required criteria. Erdogan, though, insists the migrant deal could collapse if the Turks will not get their visa-free travel to Europe.
Sources: Alarabiya, AP, RFE/RL, Reuters1, Reuters2, Reuters3, Hurriyetdaily1, Hurriyetdaily2