Turkey, Politics

Turkey's new vice president sworn into office

Ministers of Turkey's new presidential system take their oath of office

Turkey's new vice president sworn into office

by Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu


Turkey's first vice president Fuat Oktay was sworn into office in the parliament on Tuesday.

Following his swearing-in, the ministers of the new presidential system took their oath in the general assembly that was chaired by Acting Speaker Durmus Yilmaz.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unveiled the new 16-minister Cabinet in the presidential complex in capital Ankara on Monday.

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) lawmakers left the general assembly while Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu was taking his oath of office.

After the swearing-in ceremony, ministers Suleyman Soylu, Berat Albayrak, Mevlut Cavusoglu and Abdulhamit Gul gave up their seats in the parliament as per the constitution.

Lawmakers have to resign after being appointed as ministers.

The ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party that held 295 seats after the June 24 election now holds 291 seats in the 600-seats parliament.

Fuat Oktay

Oktay, born in 1964 in Turkey's central Anatolian Yozgat province, served as the head of the Prime Ministry's Disaster and Emergency Management Agency from January 2012 to June 2016.

From June 2016 until now, he has served as undersecretary in the Prime Ministry.

Oktay earned a bachelor's degree in business studies from Cukurova University in 1985. He finished his master's degree in manufacturing engineering and business studies in 1990 at Wayne State University in the U.S. city of Detroit.

From 2008-2012, Oktay served as deputy director general responsible for strategic planning, sales and marketing at flag carrier Turkish Airlines.

Oktay speaks English and is married, with three children.

Profile of ministers

Abdulhamit Gul

Born in the southeastern Gaziantep province in 1977, Abdulhamit Gul studied law at Ankara University. He became justice minister in 2017.

Zehra Zumrut Selcuk

Labor, Social Services and Family Minister Zehra Zumrut Selcuk, 39, earned a bachelor’s in economics at Ankara’s Bilkent University.

She sought her doctorate at the University of Michigan in the U.S. while also pursuing a business doctorate at the University of Texas at Dallas. She also pursued a master’s in accounting and information at the same university.

She worked as a research assistant at the University of Texas from 2003 to 2007. She started working as senior researcher at the Statistical Economic and Social Research and Training Center for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) -- under the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) – in 2007, and later became director of statistics and information, a title she held until this day.

Murat Kurum

Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum was born in Ankara in 1976.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at Selcuk University in the central Konya province, Kurum headed Emlak Konut GYO, a real estate developer belonging to TOKI, the state-backed housing developer.

Mevlut Cavusoglu

Foreign Minister Cavusoglu, 50, earned a bachelor’s in political science at Ankara University in 1988 and sought his master’s in economics at Long Island University in New York.

He did his doctorate in 1993 at Bilkent University’s International Relations department and continued his studies in 1993-1995 at the London School of Economics (LSE), where he went on a Jean Monnet Scholarship.

The appointment is his third to the post of Turkey’s top diplomat. He first served as foreign minister in 2014-2015 in the 62nd Cabinet and then in the 64th Cabinet.

Fatih Donmez

Born in the western Bilecik province in 1965, Fatih Donmez served as undersecretariat at the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry before his current promotion to energy and natural resources minister.

Mehmet Kasapoglu

Mehmet Kasapoglu, appointed the new youth and sports minister, was born in Istanbul in 1976.

He studied economics and administrative sciences at Marmara University and earned a local administration master’s from the same university. Kasapoglu also earned a master’s in business administration at Palm Beach Atlantic University, Florida.

He was previously the head of Turkey’s Spor Toto Organizational Directorate, which regulates the betting system and its financial payouts.

Berat Albayrak

Berat Albayrak, born in Istanbul in 1978, earned a bachelor’s in business administration at Istanbul University and a master’s at the Lubin School of Business at Pace University in New York.

Before his new position, Albayrak was energy and natural resources minister.

Suleyman Soylu

Suleyman Soylu was born in Istanbul in 1969. He was elected chairman of the Democratic Party in 2009. In the 2015 general elections he won a seat as a ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party lawmaker and served as both labor and social security minister and interior minister. He is staying at the latter post.

Mehmet Ersoy

New Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Ersoy was born in 1968 in Istanbul.

He studied business administration at Istanbul University.

A tourism professional and businessman, Ersoy has been an administrator of cruise ships in Turkey.

Ziya Selcuk

New Education Minister Ziya Selcuk was born in 1961 in Ankara and studied educational science at Ankara’s Hacettepe University. He later became a professor at Gazi University, also in the capital.

He was president of the Board of Education and took part in Turkey’s EU accession negotiations in the fields of education and science.

Hulusi Akar

Hulusi Akar, the new national defense minister, was appointed Turkish Land Forces Commander in 2013 and the country’s chief of General Staff in August 2015.

Akar graduated from military academy as an infantry officer in 1972. He served as a commander in Bosnia in 1997-1998, for which he was awarded the U.S. Order of Merit, before returning to Turkey to command the Internal Security Brigade.

He received the Courage and Self-Sacrifice Medal for his outstanding achievements in internal security operations.

Fahrettin Koca

New Health Minister Fahrettin Koca was born in 1965 in the central Konya province. He graduated from Istanbul University Medical School in 1988, where he also studied pediatrics.

Mustafa Varank

Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank, 42, earned a bachelor’s in political science and public administration at Ankara’s Middle East Technical University (METU).

He sought his master’s degree in computer science at Indiana University in the U.S.

He started working at the Prime Ministry in 2005, and served as top advisor to the premier in 2011, top advisor to the president in 2014, and became an ambassador in 2016.

Bekir Pakdemirli

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli, 45, earned a bachelor’s in management at Ankara’s Bilkent University. He also studied for a master’s in management at Baskent University.

Pakdemirli earned a doctorate in economics at Celal Bayar University in Manisa. He was a freelance entrepreneur in the fields of food, agriculture, animal husbandry, technology, and automobiles.

He has been a founder and administrator in various companies, including cellular service provider Turkcell, discount market chain BIM, and AlBaraka Participation Bank.

Ruhsar Pekcan

New Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan, 60, earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degree from Istanbul University’s electricity department.

Her career began in 1981 as an electrical engineer at a pipe manufacturing factory, and later she became a board member and general manager at the same company. She stepped down in 2005.

She is currently the CEO of an engineering company founded in 2005.

Cahit Turan

New Transport and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turan was born in 1960.

He graduated from Karadeniz Technical University’s Construction Engineering Department, and earned his master’s from the same department.

After stepping down as head of the Highways Directorate, Turan worked as chief advisor to the president and member of the Council of State. He is now the CEO of a consortium which took over the construction of the North Marmara Highway.

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