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Deciphering Turkey’s new cabinet: Real reform or window dressing?

President Erdogan's new Cabinet so far reflects a shift to his reformist days — whether that plays out as such remains to be seen.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C) and members of his new cabinet pose for a photo during a visit to Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Turkish Republic's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, before their first cabinet meeting in Ankara, on June 6, 2023.

Turkey’s flailing economy topped the agenda as the country’s new Cabinet convened Tuesday under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the first time since he won a third presidential term on May 28. 

Featuring an array of able technocrats, the new lineup has led to cautious optimism over a possible shift back to Erdogan’s reformist days in the early 2000s that saw the European Union open now stalled full membership talks with the majority Muslim nation of 85 million.

Speaking to reporters after the 4½-hour meeting, Erdogan said the twin pillars of his rule would be “stability and security.” “God willing we will stand shoulder to shoulder and build the new Turkish century together,” he said.

Erdogan also vowed to bring inflation down to single digits and make Turkey one of the world’s 10 largest economies. At the same time, however, Erdogan also signaled that subsidies to farmers and pensioners would continue, raising questions in turn about how successful or independent his new finance minister, Mehmet Simsek, can be.

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