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Spotlight: Turkey's Erdogan assumes presidency, unveils cabinet
BY 2018-07-11 07:21:28

ANKARA, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Following his election victory last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took oath of office on Monday and announced his new cabinet, marking the official start of a new era in Turkish politics.


RETURNING WITH NEW POWERS


After the swearing-in held in parliament, Erdogan's inauguration ceremony took place at the presidential palace here with dozens of foreign heads of state and high-ranking officials attending the event.


The dignitaries included Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a sign of the warm ties between Russia and Turkey, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.


"Today we are making a new start," Erdogan said at the ceremony. "Turkey is leaving behind a system which cost the country politically, socially and economically."


He said Turkey would go further in every area in the new era, including democracy, fundamental rights, economy and large investments.


Erdogan pledged to "reinforce the social state" in the new era and "leave behind the days that people were externalized and alienated for whatever reason."


The Turkish strongman, 64, who first came to power as prime minister in 2003, won the June 24 elections, steering Turkey's transition to an executive presidential system approved in a 2017 referendum.


Under the new system, the president forms the government and appoints ministers, vice presidents and high-levels officials. Previously, the prime minister formed the government by making elected members of parliament ministers.


CABINET SLIMMED DOWN TO 16


Erdogan announced the new cabinet hours after he was sworn in. The number of ministries under the presidential system has been reduced from 26 to 16 and those dealing with economic matters halved to three.


Multiple ministries have been merged. The European Union Affairs Ministry has been integrated into the Foreign Ministry.


Parallel to the ministries, nine councils dealing with issues ranging from social policy to security and foreign policy will develop, supervise and coordinate relevant policy suggestions.


Erdogan's son-in-law Berat Albayrak, a former energy minister, has been appointed minister of treasury and finance, overseeing the economy.


Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul have retained their portfolios in the new cabinet.


Chief of General Staff General Hulusi Akar joined the cabinet as defense minister.


Erdogan also appointed Fuat Oktay, a high-ranking bureaucrat, as vice president.


Observers said tough decisions on two main issues, the economy and foreign policy, await Erdogan.


These problems are interrelated, political analyst and journalist Serkan Demirtas told Xinhua. "Both are about the main political choices of the government regarding how Turkey integrates with the outer world and how these choices will help it repair its broken image in the eyes of the international community," Demirtas said.


Erdogan said on Saturday that he would tackle "the structural economic problems" of high interest rates and inflation and a wide current account deficit.


"With the power granted to us by the new presidential system, we will be getting quicker and stronger results," he said as new members of parliament began to take their oath of office.


Erdogan will visit two traditional allies this week -- Azerbaijan and Turkish northern Cyprus. He will also attend the upcoming North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Brussels on July 11-12, where he will meet U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders.



(Editor:Li Zhaoqi) (From:xinhua)
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