Recep Tayyip Erdogan, elected Turkish president for a third term, was sworn in as president at an inauguration ceremony in Ankara.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, renewed for five years at the head of Turkey, began his third term as president on June 3 by calling on his divided country “to make peace”. The 69-year-old Head of State, twenty of whom are in power, re-elected on May 28 with 52% of the vote after a tough campaign and two rounds of voting, was sworn in before Parliament to the applause of his camp – which holds the majority of the 600 seats with its nationalist allies.
In the evening, after the gala dinner in the presence of nearly 80 foreign heads of state and government, Erdogan announced the formation of his new cabinet, which has been profoundly reshuffled, notably in Defence, Foreign Affairs and Economy. This new government will meet for the first time on Tuesday, he had previously announced.
He is a conciliatory head of state like never before who, from his gigantic presidential palace on an outlying hill in Ankara, called on his opponents to “find a way to make peace”. “Let’s put aside the resentments and anger of this election period.”
“We expect the opposition to act with a sense of responsibility for Turkey’s well-being and democracy,” he continued, before asking “the parties” but also “journalists, writers, to civil society, to artists (to) reconcile with the national will”. Erdgoan’s critics point out that thousands of representatives of all these categories are behind bars.
The opposition deputies remained seated when the assembly rose after the oath and the speech of the head of state, promising among other things “to assume its duty with impartiality”.
In torrential rain – a harbinger of plenty in Turkey – Erdogan walked from parliament to Atatürk’s mausoleum from where he briefly hailed “a new era”, pledging to bring earthquake victims home as soon as possible”. At least 50,000 people died in the February 6 disaster that left millions homeless in the south of the country, 3 million of whom are displaced.
Pashinian alongside Turkey’s allies, including Aliyev
Then he returned to the sumptuous presidential palace he had built, where, he said, “78 foreign heads of state and government” were waiting for him, as well as Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO. , seated in the front row. The latter was to try once again to lift the Turkish veto on Sweden’s entry into the Atlantic Alliance, barred for thirteen months, if possible before a summit of the Organization in Vilnius in July. Despite an amended Constitution and a new law against terrorism, Ankara still accuses Sweden of harboring Kurdish refugees whom it describes as “terrorists”.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian took his place alongside traditional allies of Turkey such as Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the Prime Ministers of Hungary, Viktor Orban, and Qatar, Mohammed ben Abderrahmane Al-Thani, who were among the first to congratulate him on his re-election.
Armenia and Turkey have never officially established diplomatic relations and their common border has been closed since the 1990s, but a rapprochement has been initiated since the beginning of 2022, despite Ankara’s displayed support for Baku on the issue of Nargorny-Karabakh which opposes Yerevan to Azerbaijan.
Also notable, the presence of the Venezuelan head of state Nicolas Maduro, and that of many African heads of state – Congo, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Algeria – testifying to the active diplomacy of Ankara on the continent.
To all, he promised “more initiatives to bring a solution to global crises”: since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ankara has managed to maintain relations with the two capitals – without sanctioning Moscow – and regularly offers its mediation.
Inflation over 40%
After the gala dinner, Erdogan went to the Cankaya presidential palace, occupied by Mustafa Kemal, to announce the composition of his new government.
As expected, it is a recognized expert, Mehmet Simsek, former Minister of Finance (2009-2015) then Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the Economy (until 2018) who takes over the reins of the Economy, one priorities for the country.
The name of Mr. Simsek, 56, circulated with insistence: a former economist at the American bank Merrill Lynch, he will be responsible for restoring a little orthodoxy in the country’s financial policy in order to restore investor confidence.
In addition to inflation at more than 40% – and even 73% for the year 2022 – the national currency is in free fall to more than 20.95 Turkish liras for one dollar on Saturday, despite the billions of dollars swallowed up during the campaign to delay its sinking.
The main sovereign ministries are also renewed: thus, Hakan Fidan, former head of MIT, the Turkish intelligence service, takes over as head of Foreign Affairs, replacing Mevlut Cavusoglu. At Defense, Yasar Güler, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces succeeds Hulusi Akar, former Chief of Staff who held this ministry since July 2018. Mr. Akar was considered the architect of the resistance to the failed putsch of July 2016. Only two ministers, Health and Culture, are maintained in their posts.
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