Turkey’s Erdogan to name cabinet as signals action on economy

Tayyip Erdogan emerged triumphant from his biggest electoral challenge in 15 years, giving him the sweeping executive powers he has long sought and extending his grip on the nation of 81 million until at least 2023. (Reuters)
Updated 07 July 2018

Turkey’s Erdogan to name cabinet as signals action on economy

ANKARA: Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he would name the cabinet he has selected on Monday, as he renewed a promise to tackle what he called the “structural problems” of the country’s economy.
Moving to reinforce his authority in his first parliamentary speech since being re-elected on June 24, he said Turkey would enter a new era when he takes the presidential oath on Monday.
Erdogan emerged triumphant from his biggest electoral challenge in 15 years, giving him the sweeping executive powers he has long sought and extending his grip on the nation of 81 million until at least 2023.
“As the first president of the new executive presidential system, I will announce the cabinet at 9pm on Monday... God willing, we will hold our first cabinet meeting on Friday,” he told deputies of his AK Party.
Under the changes, the post of prime minister will be scrapped, and Erdogan will select his own cabinet and regulate ministries and remove civil servants, all without parliamentary approval.
Erdogan said on Friday he would appoint ministers from outside parliament.
In Saturday’s speech, he also said he would tackle high interest rates and inflation and a wide current account deficit.
“We will take our country much further by solving (these) structural problems of our economy,” he said.
A self-confessed enemy of high interest rates, Erdogan said during campaigning for last month’s ballot that he would exercise greater control over monetary policy once re-elected.
That fanned investors’ concerns about the independence of the country’s central bank, which has been struggling to combat double-digit inflation and a plummeting lira currency.
Erdogan took 52.5 percent of the vote in the presidential election. His AK Party took 42.5 percent of the parliamentary vote and its nationalist allies beat expectations with 11.1 percent, giving their alliance a legislative majority.
“With the power granted to us by the new presidential system, we will be getting quicker and stronger results,” Erdogan said.
New members of the Turkish parliament are scheduled to take their oaths of office on Saturday in the new 600-seat assembly.


Houthis back down over access to ‘ticking timebomb’ Red Sea tanker

Updated 15 min 4 sec ago

Houthis back down over access to ‘ticking timebomb’ Red Sea tanker

  • UN technical team set to board stricken vessel to avert environmental disaster from 1.4m-barrel oil spill

JEDDAH: Houthi militias in Yemen finally backed down on Sunday over access to a stricken oil storage vessel to prevent it from leaking more than a million barrels of crude into the Red Sea.

Engineers from a UN inspection team are now expected to board the FSO Safer in the next few days to assess the vessel’s condition and carry out emergency repairs.

The 45-year-old Safer has been moored 7 km off the coast of Yemen since 1988. It is stationary, with no engine or means of propulsion. The vessel fell into the hands of the Iran-backed Houthis in March 2015, when they took control of the coast around the port city of Hodeidah.

The militants have refused for more than 5 years to allow international engineers to board the Safer to carry out essential repairs, and as the vessel’s condition deteriorates there are fears that the 1.4 million barrels of oil it contains will start to seep out. A breach would have disastrous results for Red Sea marine life and tens of thousands of people who depend on fishing for their livelihood.

Apart from corrosion, essential work on reducing explosive gases in the storage tanks has been neglected for years. The Yemen government has warned the Safer could explode and cause “the largest environmental disaster, regionally and globally.”

FASTFACTS

  • The 45-year-old Safer has been moored 7 km off the coast of Yemen since 1988.
  • It is stationary, with no engine or means of propulsion.
  • The Yemen government has warned the Safer could explode and cause a regional and global environmental disaster.

 The latest problem came in May with a leak in a cooling pipe. “The pipe burst, sending water into the engine room and creating a really dangerous situation,” said Ian Ralby, chief executive of the maritime consultancy IR Consilium.

If the vessel ruptures, “you’re going to have two catastrophes,” said Lise Grande, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen.

 “There’s going to be an environmental catastrophe that’s bigger than almost any other similar kind ... and it’s going to be a humanitarian catastrophe because that oil will make the port of Hodeidah unusable.”

Critics say the Houthis have been using the Safer to blackmail Yemen’s legitimate government into offering concessions in peace talks brokered by the UN and to enable them to sell the vessel’s oil. Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed wants the proceeds from selling the oil to be spent on health care and humanitarian aid.

Crude stored in the Safer’s tanks is worth about $40 million, half what it was before prices crashed, and experts say it may be of poor quality and worthless.

Related