Middle East

Turkey’s Erdogan replaces justice minister, stats institute head

ISTANBUL, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan named Bekir Bozdag, a member of his ruling AK Party, as Justice Minister, and also replaced the chief of statistics Institute TUIK, the Official Gazette said on Saturday.

It said former Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul had resigned, but did not give a reason.

Bozdag, 56, had served as justice minister under Erdogan between 2013-2015 and 2015-2017, before being a deputy prime minister until 2018, when the role was abolished as part of constitutional changes that gave Erdogan sweeping executive powers.

“I thank our President Mr Tayyip Erdogan for entrusting the post of Justice Minister to me… May God help us,” Bozdag said on Twitter on Saturday.

Erdogan also removed Sait Erdal Dincer as TUIK chairman less than a year after his appointment, and named Erhan Cetinkaya to replace him, the Gazette said.

Opposition parties and critics have accused TUIK of meddling with official data, such as inflation, for political reasons. The institute has dismissed the allegation, but researchers have begun alternative inflation calculations.

Embroiled in a currency crisis, Turkey had been dogged by soaring inflation that is expected to hit a near 20-year high around 47 percent in January, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Diane Craft and John Stonestreet

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