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Well-known pro-gov’t figures among 68 deputy ministers appointed by Erdoğan

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has appointed 68 deputy ministers, including well-known pro-government figures such as former Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy group chairman Bülent Turan and former national wrestler Hamza Yerlikaya, the ANKA news agency reported on Thursday.

Erdoğan’s decision to appoint 68 deputy ministers to 17 ministries was published in the Official Gazette on Thursday.

The new appointees include Turan and Yerlikaya — also a former board member of Turkey’s state-run Vakıfbank — who were assigned to the Interior Ministry and the Youth and Sports Ministry, respectively.

Enes Eminoğlu, former chairman of the pro-government Turkey Youth Foundation (TÜGVA), was also appointed to the Youth and Sports Ministry, while Mehmet Aktaş, head of the Security General Directorate, and former Diyarbakır governor Münir Karaloğlu were appointed to the Interior Ministry, ANKA said.

Ömer Fatih Sayan, brother of AKP Central Executive Board member and former Family and Social Services Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, was reappointed as deputy minister of transport and infrastructure.

Controversial judge Akın Gürlek, known for convicting dissidents, including several high-profile opposition figures, was reappointed as one of the four deputy justice ministers, another one of whom is former AKP lawmaker Ramazan Can.

Gürlek is known for his controversial rulings including sentencing Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtaş to five years in prison for spreading the propaganda of a terrorist organization and for sentencing of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP)’s İstanbul provincial chairman Canan Kaftancıoğlu to 10 years for her posts on social media.

AKP lawmakers Ahmet Aydın, Ahmet Berat Çonkar, Abdullah Erdem Cantimur, Alpaslan Kavaklıoğlu, Şuay Alpay, Ebubekir Gizligider and Osman Boyraz were also among the 68 figures Erdoğan appointed as deputy ministers.

Erdoğan had unveiled a new cabinet lineup earlier this month after winning a historic runoff election on May 28 to extend his two-decade rule and being sworn in for a third term as president.

Erdoğan won 52.18 percent of the vote despite an economic crisis and anger over the response to February’s earthquakes that killed more than 50,000 people, while his secular rival Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu won 47.82 percent, according to official results.

Turkey’s ruling AKP and its leader President Erdoğan are widely criticized for filling state posts with their cronies and eschewing merit-based assignments

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