Turkish Transport Minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan has been removed from his post by President Tayyip Erdoğan, according to a decree published in the Official Gazette early on Saturday, Reuters reported.
Adil Karaismailoğlu has been appointed the new minister, the decree said. It did not provide a reason for the change or any further details. A spokesman for the ministry confirmed the move but did not provide details.
Turhan, a former head of Turkey’s Railroads Directorate and a chief adviser to the president, was appointed minister by Erdoğan on in July 2018.
Karaismailoğlu was named deputy transport minister last year.
Turhan and his ministry drew criticism this week for holding the first tender for the construction of a huge canal on the edge of İstanbul amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Turhan said Turkey had been less impacted by the virus than some other countries due to the timely measures it had taken.
However, the rate of increase in infections in Turkey has outstripped many other countries in the last two weeks, with 1,704 new cases in the last 24 hours. The COVID-19-related death toll in Turkey was 108 as of Saturday, while the total number of confirmed cases is 7,402.
“Our ministry is one of the ministries in this country from which people expect projects and services,” Turhan was quoted as saying. “During this period, it has operated and continued its activities domestically and internationally in line with the decisions of our Health Ministry and team of experts.”