The stunning replacements of Turkey’s central bank governor and the treasury and finance minister send a strong signal that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, alarmed over snowballing economic woes, could risk snap elections to salvage his political future.
The drama in Ankara unfolded Nov. 7, when Turks woke up to the news that Central Bank Gov. Murat Uysal had been sacked overnight after only 16 months in office. Before the dust settled, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak — Erdogan’s son-in-law whom many saw as the president’s possible successor — announced his resignation late Nov. 8 in what appeared to be a hastily scribbled statement posted on Instagram. Albayrak, who was under mounting criticism over his management of the economy, vanished from public view, while it took Erdogan more than 24 hours to acknowledge the resignation, which he described as Albayrak’s “request to be excused from his duties” due to health issues.