Turkish PM Unveils Plans to Restructure Ministries

Posted June 8th, 2011 at 10:25 am (UTC-5)
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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has unveiled a plan to restructure the Cabinet by merging some ministries, scrap others and create six new ones, including one to oversee Turkey's bid to join the European Union.

Mr. Erdogan announced the changes at a press conference Wednesday, just four days before Turkey holds parliamentary elections.

The reorganization will leave 25 ministries in the Cabinet, down from the current 27. In addition to the EU affairs ministry, the new ones include family and social policy, youth, customs, commerce and development.

Mr. Erdogan said the new Cabinet structure will go into effect after the June 12 vote.

Polls show Mr. Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party is expected to win a third term in office.

The atmosphere in Turkey has been tense in the run-up to the elections. Last week, Mr. Erdogan blamed the opposition for provoking clashes ahead of the June 12 elections.

The leader of the far-right Nationalist Action Party , Devlet Bahceli, blamed the government for the recent tensions, accusing it of efforts to provoke separatists and escalate attacks.