Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced the new Cabinet following a meeting with President Abdullah Gül on Dec. 25 in Ankara amid a high-level graft probe that has shaken the government, SIA reports citing Turkish media.
The cabinet reshuffle comes after Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, Interior Minister Muammer Güler and Environment and Urbanization Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar, who face bribery and corruption allegations, announced their resignations earlier today.
Güler has been replaced by Prime Ministry Undersecretary Efkan Ala, who is one of Erdoğan’s closest aides. Nihat Zeybekçi assumed the ministerial position left vacant by Çağlayan while İdris Güllüce was appointed as the new Environment and Urban Planning minister.
Egemen Bağış, whose name was also mentioned in the graft investigation as a suspect involved in corruption and bribery, also lost his ministerial post in the reshuffle. Bağış has been replaced by Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) deputy chair in charge of external affairs, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.
"Some of my friends have asked to be excused due to the recent developments, some are quitting the Cabinet because of their candidature [at the upcoming local elections] and others are changes proposed to the President within my discretion and approved by him," Erdoğan told reporters during a press briefing.
Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ was appointed as new justice minister, after Sadullah Ergin announced his candidacy for the upcoming local elections in the southern province of Hatay.
Ankara Deputy Emrullah İşler will replace Bekir Bozdağ as deputy prime minister. Ayşenur İslam Aile was named to replace Family and Social Affairs Minister Fatma Şahin who will run for Gaziantep mayoral post while Lütfi Elvan replaces Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım, who is a candidate for İzmir mayoral post.
Sports and Youth Minister Suat Kılıç and Industry and Technology Ministrer Nihat Ergin also lost their ministerial portfolios and were replaced by Akif Çağatay and Fikri Işık respectively.
Twenty-four people have been arrested under the corruption investigation that hit Turkey last week, including the sons of Interior Minister Muammer Güler and Çağlayan. Bayraktar’s son was released pending trial.