President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that former Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek could help shape future economic policies in Turkey. Speaking to 24 TV late Wednesday, Erdogan said that a team was being put together to strengthen the state’s economic outlook, overseen by Simsek.
Simsek served in the government as finance minister during the 2018 elections before being replaced by President Erdogan’s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak. Since then, Turkey’s economy has been characterized by unorthodox policies, which had led to a 24-year high in inflation and depleting of foreign exchange reserves.
The speculation around Simsek’s potential role was further fuelled by a meeting between the two in Ankara on March 20th. However, the former finance minister is said to be adamant in staying out of active politics according to a statement from AK Party spokesman Omer Celik.
Simsek is a distinguished figure in Turkey’s economic management, having formerly worked as a strategist at Merrill Lynch prior to his appointment in the government. He has been greatly influential in the country’s positive economic performance over the past decade.
Simsek has been succeeded by President Erdogan’s son-in-law, who has been in charge of the economy during a period of increasingly unorthodox policies. Heavily criticized for the soaring inflation, currency depreciation, and falling foreign reserves, Albayrak’s role in guiding the country’s economy has been questioned in recent years.
The announcement from President Erdogan raises hopes of a return to market-friendly policies, as Simsek is widely respected for his experience and astute judgment. It remains to be seen what role Simsek will play in Turkey’s economic policies, but his presence is likely to be a stabilizing component for delicate markets going forward.