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January 27, 2013, Sunday

Reflections on the Cabinet reshuffle

Columnists in Turkish newspapers who analyzed the latest changes in the Cabinet announced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a surprise move last week have generally welcomed the reshuffling.

The culture and tourism, health, education and interior ministers were replaced. They think the new ministers are the right choices for the posts and that they will perform well in their areas of responsibility.

Sabah’s Sevilay Yükselir says that apart from the replacement of Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin the replacement of the other three ministers came as a surprise to her. In her view, the most surprising change was replacing Education Minister Ömer Dinçer. She says it was very necessary for Dinçer to be removed from the ministry and that she did not expect Prime Minister Erdoğan to take such a step. “Dinçer was the minister during a period in which radical changes were made to the education system. I was expecting Erdoğan to hold Dinçer for at least one more term to see the fruits of the changes in the system,” she said. According to Yükselir, the appointment of Nabi Avcı as education minister is the most correct decision in the Cabinet overhaul because she thinks Dinçer’s political career would be at risk if he had continued in his post for much longer because of his offensive remarks against teachers.

Star’s Yusuf Ziya Cömert is very happy about the appointment of Avcı as the new education minister who he describes as a very intellectual and intelligent person. “There is never a time when we journalists sit around the same table with Avcı and don’t learn something new from him,” he says. “Avcı is a very good choice to ensure that the extensive changes in education made during Dinçer’s term are meaningful and that the ministry moves in the right direction. I am very hopeful about the future of education in Turkey. Avcı’s style will bring a decency to education and politics that will be discernable,” he says.

With regards to the replacement of Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay with Ömer Çelik, Cömert thinks Günay was certainly a successful culture minister. He was influential in orchestrating the return of stolen artifacts from Turkey, but the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, which revolutionized the education, justice, health, transportation and economic systems, failed to show the same success in the field of culture. In this regard, he says Çelik’s appointment as culture minister will give the government an opportunity to show the same success in the field of culture as well.

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