Erdogan accepts son-in-law’s resignation as finance minister

ANKARA: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has accepted the resignation of his finance minister and son-in-law Berat Albayrak, a day after he abruptly resigned from his post.

Turkey appointed former deputy prime minister Lutfi Elvan as its treasury and finance minister. Elvan is a former development minister, as well as deputy prime minister under Erdogan’s ruling AK Party.

Albayrak said on Sunday he was resigning for health reasons, a day after Erdogan appointed former finance minister Naci Agbal to replace former central bank chief Murat Uysal.

“As a result of the evaluation by our president, Finance and Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak’s request to resign has been accepted,” the presidency’s Communications Directorate in a statement, adding that Erdogan admired Albayrak’s successes in his two-year tenure as finance minister.

The abrupt resignation shocked the government and angered some ruling party members who say the nature of his departure damages the president. Finance and Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak oversaw economic policy for two tumultuous years during which Turkey endured economic slowdowns, the COVID-19 pandemic and a 45% slide in the lira.

Many people in Turkey, including some officials in Erdogan’s AK Party, believed the president was grooming the 42-year-old former businessman as a future party leader and even as a possible successor.

READ MORE: Turkey condemns French caricature of Erdogan

In a highly unusual resignation statement posted on Instagram, Albayrak said he was stepping down, one day after Erdogan sacked the Central Bank governor and ignored Albayrak’s preference for a successor.

Albayrak’s message, addressed not to Erdogan but “for the attention of the public”, said he was resigning for health reasons. It was followed by silence as presidency officials said they failed to track him down for clarification. It took more than 24 hours for the government to respond, with a brief statement from the presidency saying Erdogan had accepted Albayrak’s resignation.

Earlier, Erdogan made no mention of Albayrak in a speech in Ankara while television network had ignored the departure of the government’s economic policy-maker. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said Albayrak’s resignation via social media was unprecedented and amounted to a “state crisis”.

Erdogan, who has long opposed hiking rates to tackle price rises, was also briefed on the extent of Turkey’s depleted foreign exchange reserves after authorities used up an estimated $100 billion of reserves this year to curb the lira’s slump.

 

 

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