Copy of 2023-06-04T101846Z_1255194030_RC2AC1A6AAA4_RTRMADP_3_TURKEY-ECONOMY-MINISTER-1685943533375
Turkey's newly appointed Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek attends an handover ceremony in Ankara. Image Credit: REUTERS

Ankara: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan named Mehmet Simsek as treasury and finance minister, handing over the reins of the economy to an advocate of conventional policies as authorities race to restore investor confidence after elections.

Erdogan’s appointment of Simsek as part of his new cabinet on Saturday likely signals a shift from the Turkish leader’s economic policies.

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Simsek, 56, is a former Merrill Lynch strategist who worked as both a finance minister and deputy prime minister in past Erdogan cabinets.

In his first remarks following the appointment, Simsek hinted at a return to conventional policies. “Turkey does not have any choice left other than returning to rational policy making,” he said at the handover ceremony in Ankara. “Transparency, predictability, consistency and compatibility with international norms will be the core principles.”

In another key selection, Erdogan named the country’s spy chief Hakan Fidan as foreign minister to oversee a nascent diplomatic thaw with the Arab world and take charge of Turkey’s outreach to NATO allies, including the US and neighboring Greece.

New lineup

Erdogan won 52.2 per cent in a runoff vote last week to secure another five-year term. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was among dignitaries who attended Saturday’s inauguration ceremony in Ankara, as was Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

In unveiling his new lineup, Erdogan is looking to turn the page on a cost-of-living crisis as the lira sinks to record lows and investors await clarity on the path forward for the $900 billion economy. The cabinet - slated to convene in a meeting with Erdogan on Tuesday - is expected to normalize economic and foreign policies while focusing on trying to wrest some of the country’s biggest cities from the opposition in local elections next March.