New government approved in Turkey

New government approved in Turkey
Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has approved a new government formed by his trusted ally who has pledged to push through constitutional reforms that would expand the powers of the presidency.

Binali Yildirim, who replaces the outgoing prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, announced his cabinet on Tuesday after a meeting with Mr Erdogan.

Mr Erdogan invited Mr Yildirim to form a new government on Sunday after Mr Davutoglu stepped down amid differences with the president on a range of issues, including Mr Davutoglu's stance towards an overhaul of the constitution to give the largely ceremonial presidency executive powers.

The president took a break from hosting the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul and returned to Ankara to approve Mr Yildirim's government.

Soon after his nomination, Mr Yildirim vowed to follow Mr Erdogan's path and transition Turkey into a presidential system.

Many fear such a presidential system will concentrate too many powers in the hands of Mr Erdogan, who has adopted an increasingly authoritarian style of governing and has cracked down on media and government critics.

Domestically, the political reshuffling takes place as Turkey faces serious security threats including increased attacks by Kurdish and so-called 'Islamic State' militants.

It also comes at a time when the country's parliament is in disarray after a government-backed constitutional amendment has left 138 politicians vulnerable to prosecution.

Internationally, Turkey is also traversing a delicate moment in its relations with the European Union. The implementation of a Turkey-EU deal to help stem the influx of migrants to Europe - which Mr Davutoglu had helped negotiate - has repeatedly come into question.

Mr Erdogan has warned that the migrant deal could collapse if the Europeans renege on their pledges to grant Turkish citizens the right to visa-free travel.

The EU said Ankara must meet all of the EU's conditions to secure visa-free travel, including narrowing its definition of "terrorist" - which Mr Erdogan said is out of the question.

Mr Yildirim has served as transport and communications minister since 2002 with a short interruption in 2015.

The engineering-trained politician who is a founding member of the ruling party, has been credited for his role in developing major infrastructure projects which have helped buoy Turkey's economy and boost the party's popularity.

Critics, including the leader of the main opposition party, have accused him of corruption - an accusation Mr Yildirim rejects.

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