Erdogan showcases former finance minister
A top former economic aide on Friday has reappeared side by side with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan which could be seen as a shift in Turkish economic policy ahead of next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
“Economical and political circles jazzed up,” Turkey’s Sozcu newspaper said, in a story that featured pictures of a hearty handshake between President Erdogan and his former finance minister Mehmet Simsek who was removed from the cabinet to give way to Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak four years ago.
During an inauguration ceremony in a town near Istanbul, Simsek stayed next to the president the whole day while current Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati was visiting another company in Istanbul. Nebati was also excluded from an economy summit organized by a pro-government media group last week which brought together four ministers from cabinet as well as the president of the central bank.
The removal of Simsek a former Merrill Lynch banker who was considered a reassuring force for Western investors and markets sparked an era of “new economic policy” in Turkey which saw low interest rates, depreciation of lira and skyrocketing inflation, as wall as new economic relations with eastern countries.
The day’s proceedings made analyst ponder whether Simsek prepares to take over the steering of Turkish economy.
As Finance Minister, Simsek became prominent with a fiscal policy which helped Turkey recover strongly from the global financial crisis of 2008. He also undertook far reaching reforms founding the Tax Audit Board, simplifying tax regulations, enhancing taxpayers’ rights, and reducing the shadow economy.