The likelihood of a cabinet shuffle, a perennial exercise in the two and a half years since the shift to the presidential system, is again a hot topic in Ankara in the days leading up to the AK Party Congress. The cabinet change is pretty much taken for granted this time, as the countdown to the March 24 general congress begins. On the one hand, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced reform packages, on the other, he appears set to send a message of ‘renewal’ to voters by shifting his cabinet and teams going into the 2023 elections.
The AK Party’s provincial congresses kicked off in October 2020 and, after a couple of interruptions due to the pandemic, have been completed with the Istanbul Provincial Congress held at the end of February. Following the changes made in the AK Party’s organizations, the turn has come for the major congress. Elections for Chairman and the 50-member Central Decision and Executive Board (MYK) will be held. The new staff to lead the AK Party to the 2023 elections will be determined. A 50% change in the party administration is expected. Rumors suggest former AK Party deputies will predominantly make up the MYK.
Behind the scenes, sources say changes will not be limited to the party administration and that the time has come for changes to the cabinet as well. The presidential system, they say, is now two and a half years old and a cabinet reshuffle shouldn’t be a surprise. Following the shift to the presidential system, the people assigned to cabinet positions have been predominantly elected from names outside politics. This time, the expectation is that more figures from politics will take over cabinet positions, precipitating a shift from the party administration to the cabinet. To date, there has been no change in the cabinet, excluding the dismissal of Transport and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turan and the resignation of Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak. Some believe Albayrak may be assigned to the party administration.
SPLITTING UP MINISTRIES
When Turkey’s democracy initially shifted over to the Presidential System, some ministries, such as the Ministry of Labor and Ministry of Family, as well as the Ministry of Treasury and the Ministry of Finance, were merged to reduce the number of ministries. As a result, some problems arose and now there is talk of splitting up some ministries, including Family, Labor and Social Services as well as Environment and Urbanization.
MHP CONGRESS TO BE HELD ON MARCH 18
The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), a member of the People’s Alliance (CUMHUR), will also hold its Congress this week. The 13th Ordinary Major Congress of the MHP will be held on March 18, bringing together MPs, provincial heads and mayors. As usual, MHP Leader Devlet Bahceli is expected to be the only candidate for the party leadership but its administration is expected to be reshaped..