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Simsek to take charge of economy in new Turkish cabinet

[ANKARA] Former Turkish finance minister Mehmet Simsek will be in charge of the economy in a new cabinet named by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday, becoming deputy prime minister in a team in which allies of President Tayyip Erdogan took key posts.

The new cabinet comes after snap polls earlier this month in which the AK Party, founded by Erdogan, regained the single-party rule it had lost in a June 7 election, taking nearly 50 per cent of the vote. "This cabinet has the mission of taking Turkey to a new horizon. This is a heavy responsibility but it has the support of an election victory with an 85 per cent participation rate," Davutoglu said during a press conference in Ankara. "(We) will make all our promises come true," he said, adding that the government would focus on structural reforms and the re-writing of the country's constitution.

A senior official told Reuters Simsek would take over management of the economy, a post held in the past by AKP stalwart Ali Babacan.

Both men are highly regarded by investors and were seen as counterweights to Erdogan, who has railed against high interest rates, alarming markets already jittery over political interference in monetary policy.

Former finance ministry undersecretary Naci Agbal and economist Mustafa Elitas, both seen as close to Erdogan, were named as finance and economy ministers respectively.

Other appointments saw Mevlut Cavusoglu return to the foreign minister's post he held before June, with Erdogan's son-in-law Berat Albayrak named as energy minister.