Simsek's refusal to steer Turkish economy creates split in ruling AKP

Simsek's refusal to steer Turkish economy creates split in ruling AKP
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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s invitation to former finance minister Mehmet Simsek created a division in the ruling AKP ahead of elections, with some senior figures describing the outcome of the Erdogan-Simsek meeting as "undesirable."

An invitation from Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to former finance minister Mehmet Simsek to steer the economy ahead of elections and Simsek’s consequent refusal created a split among the ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party,) Reuters reported.

A senior government official who spoke to the news agency revealed that the AKP was somewhat divided with some members opposed to Simsek's return, and described the outcome of the Erdogan meeting as "undesirable". The party may now need to revise its economic platform ahead of the election campaign, he added.

Another AKP official said that Simsek's return would have a positive impact on the party's position in the polls.

"We are having trouble regarding the economic picture right now. There is no arguing about that," the person said, adding new steps are needed.

Erdogan, who has led Turkey for two decades but is trailing in opinion polls ahead of the May 14 vote, had personally appealed to Simsek to return to the government and take up a top role, several people familiar with the matter said.

The episode shows the difficulty of rebranding a government whose policies have set off a cost-of-living crisis and left the economy and financial markets heavily state-managed, analysts and investors say.