During his inauguration ceremony at the Beştepe Presidential Complex in Ankara on June 3rd, 2023 , President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced the government’s new executive Cabinet. The new cabinet demonstrates substantial changes, with 16 out of the previous 18 ministers being replaced, alongside the appointment of a new deputy president. Notably, the 16 ministers who have been replaced were elected as members of parliament in the parliamentary election on May 14th. Two ministers, responsible for culture and tourism and health, have retained their positions. One noteworthy aspect of the cabinet reshuffle is the notable increase in the number of bureaucrats assuming ministerial roles, marking a shift away from "career politicians."
The cabinet ministers are as follows :
ALI YERLIKAYA - INTERIOR MINISTER
Ali Yerlikaya was appointed as interior minister and replaced Süleyman Soylu, who kept his position since 2018. Yerlikaya has been the Istanbul governor since 2018. Yerlikaya, 55, previously served as governor of the provinces of Gaziantep, Tekirdağ, Ağrı and Şırnak. Yerlikaya's tenure as the governor of İstanbul coincided with an increase in police crackdowns on women's rights activists, the LGBTQ+ community, and human rights advocates. However, Yerlikaya, who is perceived by some as a comparatively moderate figure, emphasized during the transition ceremony that "our guiding principles are law and human rights." Süleyman Soylu, a prominent and controversial figure within the ruling party, did not secure a position in the new cabinet, contrary to widespread expectations of his continuation as the interior minister.
Wikipedia biography :
“Ali Yerlikaya (born 11 October 1968) is a Turkish bureaucrat who currently serves as the Minister of the Interior since 4 June 2023. He previously served as the Governor of Istanbul from 2018 to 2023. Following the annulment of the March 2019 Istanbul mayoral election, Yerlikaya briefly served as the acting Mayor of Istanbul until a new successor was elected in a re-run in June 2019.
Prior to becoming Governor of Istanbul, Yerlikaya previously served as the Governor of Sırnak from 2007 to 2010, as the Governor of Ağrı from 2010 to 2012, as the Governor of Tekirdağ from 2012 to 2015, and as the Governor of Gaziantep from 2015 to 2018.
Early life and career
Yerlikaya graduated from Istanbul University Faculty of Political Science in 1989, with a degree in Public Administration. He began work at the Minister of the Interior as a candidate to become a Kaymakam (a district governor) in 1990. He served as the Kaymakam for the districts of Felahiye, Erzin, Derabucak, Hilvan and Sarıkaya during his early bureaucratic career. Yerlikaya also served as a legal advisor to the Interior Ministry and Chief of Staff at the Ministry of Health. He was an executive board member of the Turkish Heavy Industry and Service Sector Public Employers' Union (TÜHİS).
On 30 November 2007, Yerlikaya was made Governor of Şırnak. Serving until 13 May 2010, he was appointed as the Governor of Ağrı on the same day, serving until 3 August 2012. On 3 August 2012, he was appointed Governore of Tekirdağ until 19 February 2015, on which day he became Governore of Gaziantep. He served until 26 October 2018, upon which he became Governor of Istanbul, a position in which he served until his appointment as Interior Minister.
Acting Mayor of Istanbul
Turkey held routine local elections on 31 March 2019. During the mayoral vote in Istanbul, the opposition Natioın Alliance candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu won a surprise victory, edging past government-backed People’s Alliance candidate Binali Yıldırım by a narrow 0.2% margin. The government subsequently appealed to the Supreme Electoral Council of Turkey (YSK) for a recount. After several complaints and recounts, İmamoğlu was eventually sworn in as Mayor on 18 April 2019. The YSK, however, accepted a complaint by the People's Alliance for an annulment of the elections on 6 May, thus removing İmamoğlu from his office as Mayor and scheduling fresh elections for 23 June 2019..
As customary when a political position is in doubt, the Ministry of the Interior appointed the city's incumbent governor, namely Yerlikaya, as acting Mayor of Istanbul until the vacancy could be filled by the re-run vote. Yerlikaya, as acting mayor, was criticised for taking decisions that were viewed by the opposition as beyond the remit of a placeholder. He was also criticised for supposedly turning a blind eye to pro-Yıldırım posters and campaigns being conducted by municipal workers, who are required to remain neutral.
İmamoğlu won the re-run with a substantially increased majority, thereby taking over from Yerlikaya.
Comments about ISIL
While serving as Governor of Gaziantep, Yerlikaya made a series of gaffes during statements about captured militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levent (ISIL). On one occasion, he referred to an ISIL militant on trial in a formal manner, using the formal suffix 'bey' after his name (which he also repeated incorrectly). His comments were criticised for supposedly showing ISIL militants respect. Yerlikaya responded by claiming that he had been misunderstood and that the suspected militant was innocent until proven guilty in court.
On another occasion, he was criticised for commenting on an ISIL suicide bomber in an apparently supportive manner after the bomber had allegedly surrendered to the police. He again rejected criticism, saying instead that his supportive words had been directed to the police operation.
Banning of Kurdish theatrical play "Beru" in Istanbul
While serving as governor of Istanbul, he banned Beru, the Kurdish adaption of Dario Fo’s play "Faceless" shortly before it was to be performed by the theatre company Teatro Jiyana Nu. He reasoned the play contained propaganda of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Before, it had been performed both in Turkey and also abroad without issue.
Yerlikaya is married and has four children.”
HAKAN FIDAN - FOREIGN MINISTER
Hakan Fidan (55) Fidan was appointed as foreign minister, replacing Mevlut Cavuşoğlu, who was one of the longest serving top Turkish diplomats. One of Erdoğan's closest confidants, Fidan has headed the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) since 2010, and before that was an adviser to Erdoğan in the prime minister's office. Fidan was a non-commissioned officer in the Turkish Army from 1986 to 2001 and managed the Turkish Development and Cooperation Agency from 2003 to 2007. In 2012, Fidan was the subject of an inquiry, subsequently quashed, over secret peace talks which MIT had held with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group in Oslo. When summoned by prosecutors as a suspect in a PKK-related investigation in 2012, then-Prime Minister Erdoğan staunchly defended Fidan, stating, "He is my secret-keeper. The secret-keeper of the Republic of Turkey."In recent years, Turkey has relied on intelligence agencies to establish preliminary contacts before engaging in diplomatic initiatives to repair strained relations with countries like Syria and Egypt. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who has served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs since November 2015, making him the longest-serving official in this position, will now continue his political career as a member of parliament. The appointment of İbrahim Kalın, who has been the presidential spokesperson since 2014 and also serves as Erdoğan's chief foreign policy advisor, is expected to fill the vacancy left by Fidan.
Hakan Fidan was born in 1968 and began his academic journey at the Turkish Military Academy, graduating in 1986 before moving on to the Land Forces Language School. He served in the Turkish Armed Forces as a non-commissioned officer and also worked at NATO’s Germany-based Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and government from the University of Maryland and later obtained a master’s and doctoral degree at Ankara’s private Bilkent University. He taught international relations at Hacettepe University and Bilkent University. Before his appointment at National Intelligence Organization, Fidan worked closely with former Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Erdogan’s office as an undersecretary.
YAŞAR GÜLER – DEFENCE MINISTER
General Yaşar Güler, 69, has been appointed as the defence minister. Güler, who has served in the armed forces for 49 years, has been the chief of the general staff since 2018. He marks the second consecutive appointment of a former chief of the General Staff to this role. Hulusi Akar, Güler's predecessor, had also held the position of Chief of the General Staff from 2015 to 2018. During the infamous Roboski Massacre in 2011, in which 34 individuals involved in smuggling between Şırnak and the Kurdistan region of Iraq were mistakenly bombed by planes, Yaşar Güler served as the head of intelligence at the General Staff. Additionally, he was taken to the Akıncı Air Base, along with Hulusi Akar, during the attempted coup in July 2016, where they were detained by soldiers. He was the military chief during Turkey's military incursions into Syria in 2019 and 2020, and also oversaw subsequent military operations there and in Iraq.
Wikipedia biography :
“Yaşar Güler (born 18 September 1954) is a Turkish general who currently serves as the Minister of National Defense. He previously served as the 30th Chief of the Generak Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces from 2018 to 2023.
He enlisted in the army in 1974, which was effectively the start of his military career. He spent two years prior to his enlistment studying at the Turkish Military Academy. In the 10 years since joining the land forces, he served in various infantry and signals companies, acting as the commander of one of them. In 1986 he graduated from the Army War College with honours and graduated with the rank of a staff officer. He was promoted to brişgadier general in 2001 and assumed responsibility for the 10th Infantry Brigade Command and the Planning and Coordination Department of the General Staff.
4 years later, he was promoted to major general and took over duties of the General Staff and at the School of Communications and Electronic Information Systems of the TAF in Ankara. In 2009, he was appointed to a position in the General Command of the 4th Army Corps, serving for over 2 years, this time as lieutenant general. From 2011 – 2013, he was the chief of intelligence for the armed forces, a position where he performed his duties before becoming the Deputy Chief of Staff in 2013, where he was also promoted to general and became the commander of the Gendarmerie General Command in 2016–2017, and became the Commander of Land Forces in 2017–2018, serving in those positions for a combined 5 years. On July 10, 2018, he was appointed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the 30th General Staff of the Republic of Turkey of the Armed Forces, succeeding Hulusi Akar, who was promoted to the post of Minister of National Defense that same day.
He is currently married to Demet Güler, with whom he has a child. He has two grandchildren.”
MEHMET ŞIMŞEK - FINANCE MINISTER
Former economy chief Mehmet Şimşek has been appointed as treasury and finance minister. He was highly regarded by financial markets when he served as finance minister and deputy prime minister between 2009 and 2018. His appointment is seen to signal a departure from years of unorthodox policy underpinned by low interest rates despite high inflation and heavy state control of markets. Prior to political roles, Şimşek worked as an economist at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara and later at Merrill Lynch. He is known for his pragmatic approach and has advocated for economic reforms aimed at promoting growth, attracting foreign investment, and ensuring fiscal discipline. A notable change in the cabinet is the replacement of Nureddin Nebati with Mehmet Şimşek. This shift has been interpreted as a signal of a return to orthodox economic policies. Known for his proximity to international finance circles, Şimşek emphasized during the transition ceremony that "there is no alternative but to return to a rational economic ground." Nebati, on the other hand, was known as an advocate for Erdoğan's "low interest-low inflation" policy.
MAHINUR ÖZDEMIR GÖKTAŞ - FAMİLY AND SOCIAL SERVICES MINISTER
Mahinur Özdemir Göktaş has been appointed as the family and social services minister, becoming the only woman member in the cabinet. Born in Belgium, Özdemir-Göktaş was elected as a member of parliament from the Humanist Democratic Centre (CDH) in 2009 and 2014. She was dismissed from the party in 2015 due to her denial of the Armenian Genocide, and served as an independent MP until 2019. After completing her term in the Belgian Parliament, Özdemir-Göktaş was appointed as Turkey's ambassador to Algeria by the President in 2020. The 41-year-old politician is also the youngest member of the cabinet.
ALPARSLAN BAYRAKTAR - ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES MINISTER
Alparslan Bayraktar was born in Hatay in 1975. He is an engineer and politician. He graduated from the Istanbul Technical University and completed masters in the Faculty of Law at Bilkent University and international relations at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Bayraktar obtained his doctorate from the Middle East University of Ankara in energy economics and politics. Working in the private sector both in Turkey and abroad, he was appointed as a member of the board of the Energy Market Energy Authority. Between the years 2016 and 2018, he worked as Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and as General Manager at the Foreign Relations and European Union. In July 2018, Bayraktar was appointed as Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.
IBRAHIM YUMAKLI – AGRICULTURE AND FORRESTRY MINISTER
Ibrahim Yumaklı was born in Kastamonu in 1969. After attending Bakırköy İmam Hatip High School, he graduated in 1992 in business administration from Uludağ University. In 1993, Yumaklı started work as an import clerk at Marshall Boya A.Ş. company. Until 2011, he held a managerial position in the department responsible for finance in Marshall Boya and affiliated companies. In 2011, he started employment with Al Jazeera Türkiye, and between 2012 and 2015 he administered the group’s television channel. Between January and October 2016, he held the position of International Operations Director at Anadolu Agency. From October 2016, Yumaklı held the position of General Manager and Member of the Board of Directors of the Gübretaş company. From April 7th, 2022 until present, Yumaklı was the Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Forrestry.
ABDULKADIR URALOĞLU – TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE MINISTER
Abdulkadir Uraloğlu was born in Trabzon in 1966. On graduating from Construction Engineering Department of the Black Sea Technical University in 1988, he started work in the same year as a field engineer in the private sector. In 1989, he started to work as a study team engineer in the Erzurum 12th Regional Office of Turkey’s General Directorate of Highways. Between 1990 and 1998, Uraloğlu worked in turn as a study team engineer, a control engineer, and as a control supervisor at the Ankara 4th Regional Office of Turkey’s General Directorate of Highways. In 1998, he was promoted to Construction Head Engineer at Erzurum Regional Office, in 2003 to Regional Assistant Manager at Trabzon 10th Regional Office, in 2005 to Reginal Manager at Kayseri 6th Regional Office, and in 2006 to Samsun 7th Regional Office. In 2009, Uraloğlu spent a short period at Bursa 14th Regional Office before returning to Samsun Regional Office, where he worked for a total of 6.5 years. In 2012, he transferred to Izmir 2nd Regional Office. In accordance with the Presidential Decree of July 23th, 2018, Uraloğlu was appointed General Manager of Turkey’s General Directorate of Highways. He was also the Chairman of the Highways Türkish National Committee (YTMK) and Chaiman of the Highways Foundation (KAV).
YILMAZ TUNÇ – JUSTICE MINISTER
Yılmaz Tunç was born in Bartin in 1971. After graduating from the Law Faculty of Istanbul University, Tunç completed his post graduate studies in Finance Law in the Social Studies Department of Istanbul University. He was elected to member of parliament for Bartin in the Justice and Development Party’s 23, 24 , 25, 26 and 27 sessions in government. He served as the Chairman of the Justice Commission of the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye and as Group Vice President of the Justice and Development Party.
ÖMER BOLAT – MINISTER OF TRADE
Ömer Bolat was born in Istanbul on August 30th 1963. He completed his primary and secondary education in Istanbul. After graduating in International Economic Relations from the Economy and Administrative Faculty of Marmara University in 1984, Bolat completed his post graduate studies in European Integration at the European Institute of the University of Holland – Amsterdam. Bolat also completed the International Economy and Administration programme at the World Economy Institute of the Germany Kiel University. After working as a researcher at the Economy Development Foundation (IKV) between 1981 and 1993, in 1993 he started work at the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (MUSIAD), first as Assistant Chairman for 4 years and then as Chairman for 4 years. While also serving as a member of the board at the Foreign Economic Relations Institute (DEIK), he held top management positions at Albayrak Holding, was a board member of Türk Havacılık ve Uzay Sanayii A.Ş. company and was a member of the Justice and Development Party’s Central Decision Board (MKYK).
VEDAT IŞIKHAN – MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL SECURITY
Vedat Işıkhan was born in Mardin Artuklu in 1966. Işıkhan completed his primary and secondary education in Izmir, after which he enrolled at Hacettepe University where he studied and worked in the area of social services until obtaining his professorship. At Hacettepe University, he worked as assistant manager at the Family Services Application Centre, Department Head of Social Services, and Assistant Dean at the Economy and Administrative Sciences Faculty. Academic areas where he gained expertise include: work life, work health and security, worker rights, child labour and prevention, social policies, social problems, social services, social security, social assistance, disadvantaged groups, industrial relations, unions, active ageing, elderly care insurance, and problems after retirement. In 2012, as a part of the Ministry of Family and Social Policies’ government programme, Işıkhan played a central role as general coordinator in the field work implementation of the Family Social Support Programme (ASDEP). Between the years 2015 and 2018, he was the academic consultant for the Justice and Development Party’s Central Office of Social Policies. On October 8th, 2018, Işıkhan was appointed as a member of the Presidential Social Polices Board and on December 17th, 2021, he was appointed as vice-chairman of this board.
MEHMET ÖZHASEKİ – MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, URBANISATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Mehmet Özhaseki was born in Kayseri in 1957. After completing his primary and secondary education in Kayseri, he graduated in law from the Law Faculty of Hacettepe University. He did his law internship at the Kayseri Courthouse and was active in commerce until 1994. On March 27th, 1994, he was elected as mayor of Melikgazi in local elections and on June 23rd, 1998, he was elected as mayor of the Greater Municipality of Kayseri. On April 18th, he was reelected as the mayor of Kayseri Greater Municipality, and on March 28th, 2004, he was elected for the third time as mayor of Kayseri in local elections. Özhaseki, on February 10th, 2015, resigned from the mayorship of Kayseri in order to be a candidate to represent the Justice and Development Party (AKP) as member of parliament. He was elected as member of parliament for AKP Kayseri in the June 7th and November 1st general elections in 2015. Following AKP’s General Congress on September 12th, 2015, Özhaseki was appointed Assistant Chairman and Local Administrative Chairman for AKP. On May 24th, 2016, he was appointed as Minister for Environment and Urbanisation. In the general election held on June 24th, 2018, he was elected again as AKP member of parliament for Kayseri. Following AKP’s General Congress on August 18th, 2018, he was appointed Assistant Chairman and Local Administrative Chairman for AKP. In the local elections held on March 31st, 2019, he failed to be elected as mayor of the Greater Municipality of Ankara.
OSMAN AŞKIN BAK – MINISTER OF YOUTH AND SPORT
Osman Aşkın Bak was born in the village of Derinsu, in the district of Pazar of Rize on October 11th, 1966. Türk makine mühendisi ve siyasetçidir. He completed his seconday education at Kabataş Boys Gigh School and graduated from the Machinery Faculty of Istanbul Technical University. Bak then completed post graduate studies at the Business Administration and Industrial Engineering at the Nottinham University in the UK before doing his doctoral studies in industrial engineering at the Science Institute of Istanbul Technical University. Bak served as a member of the board of the Foreign Economic Relations Board, as a member of the Turkish Iranian Türk İran Business Council Executive Board, and as a council member of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce. Bak served as general secretary and chairman of a number of clubs, and was a board member, council member, a delegate of the the general council, and chairman of sports federations. Bak was elected as the member of parliament for Istanbul in the 24th AKP government, and as member of parliament for Rize in the 25th, 26th and 27th governments. He was the Turkish Group member and Foreign Relations Commission spokesman of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. He was also elected Political Committee Vice Chairman of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Bak was the chairman of the Research Commission for Action against Doping, and was the Minister of Youth and Sport in the 65th AKP government in the years 2017-2018.
MEHMET NURİ ERSOY – MINISTER OF CULTURE AND TOURISM
Mehmet Nuri Ersoy was born in Istanbul in 1970. After completing his secondary education at the German High School in Istanbul, Ersoy graduated in the English Business Department of the Business Administration Faculty of Istanbul Unversity. In 1985, while still at high school, he worked as a guide in the tourism sector and thereby gained much experience in this sector. In 1991, having completed his university education, he and his twin brother Murat founded a company providing package tours and hotel accommodation services. In 1999, the Voyage Hotels Group, in 2001 Didim Tur and in 2004 Atlas Global became part of his tourism company group. He is the owner of ETSTUR and MaxxRoyal hotels. On July 10th, 2018, Ersoy was appointed Minister for Culture and Tourism.
YUSUF TEKİN – MINISTER OF EDUCATION
Yusuf Tekin was born in Erzurum in 1970. After completing his primary and seconday education in Rize, in 1994 he graduated from the Public Administration Dept. of the Political Sciences Faculty of Ankara University, and he then completed post graduate studies in political and social sciences. Tekin was a lecturer in the Public Administration Dept. of the Business Administration Sciences Faculty of Gaziosmanpaşa University. In 2011, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport. On May 28th, 2013, Tekin was appointed undersecretary of the Ministry of National Education, and left this position on July 25th, 2018. On August 17th, 2018, he became a professor and on September 15th, 2018 was appointed the dean of Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli University.
FAHRETTİN KOCA – MINISTER OF HEALTH
Fahrettin Koca was born on January 2nd, 1965 in the Kulu district of the province of Konya. Afer primary and middle school education in Konya, he completed his secondary education at Bursa Boys’ School. Koca graduated from İstanbul Çapa Medical University and practiced Child Health and İllnesses at Cerrahpaşa Medical University. He worked as a doctor and medical director in several health organisations. He was the Vice Chairman on the Education Committee of the Foreign Economic Relations Council (DEİK), the Chairman of the Foundation University Hospitals Association, and Chairman of the Health Services Committee of the Service Exports Association. He is the founder and owner of Medipol University. He is also the founder of the Türkiye Education and Health Research Foundation. Koca’s political career began after the formation of the AKP 59th government in 2018 following the general election. He was appointed Minister of Health by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Koca was sworn in on July 10th, 2018 and has been Minister of Health ever since.
FATİH KACIR – MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND TECHNOLOGY
Mehmet Fatih Kacır was born in Istanbul in 1984. He completed his secondary education at Istanbul Erkek Lisesi (Istanbul Boys’ School) and was 12th in Turkey in the 2003 university entrance examinations. Kacır graduated with honours from the industrial engineering department of Bosphorus University. On July 31st, 2018, he was appointed under secretary of the Ministry for Industry and Technology. In 2023, Kacır took part in the studies relating to Industry and Technology Strategy, National Artificial Intelligence Strategy, National Space Programme, National Technology Entrepreneurship Strategy, Mobility Technologies, and Intelligent Life and Health Technolgies Road Map studies. He was also responsible for application of the action plan relating to the afore mentioned strategies and for the restructuring of the ministry. Kacır is also a member of the board of ASELSAN and of the Prof.Dr. Fuat Sezgin Islam Science History Research Foundation.
CEVDET YILMAZ - VICE PRESIDENT
Cevdet Yılmaz, born in Bingol in 1967, previously served as minister of development, deputy chairman of the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) economic affairs and deputy prime minister in charge of the economy. Yılmaz, 56, has been the chairman of the Turkish Parliament's Planning and Budget Commission since November 2020. In the general election held in 2007, Yılmaz was elected as AKP’s member of parliament for Bingöl. In the cabinet changes made on May 1st, 2009, he was appointed as state minister responsible for the GAP-DAP Project and Development. In the general election in 2011, Yılmaz was reelected as AKP member of parliament for Bingöl, and was appointed as Minister for Development in the 61st government. In the 2014 elections when Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected president, Yılmaz retained his position as Minister for Development. In the general election held on June 7th, 2015, Yılmaz was reelected as member of parliament and was appointed as vice prime minister under the premiership of Davutoğlu. In the general election of November 2015, Yılmaz was elected once more as AKP member of parliament for Bingöl.