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May 27, 2017

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Turkey's Erdogan sworn in as president

ANKARA, Istanbul--Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan approved a new cabinet stacked with loyal allies just a day after he moved from premier to head of state, with former Europe minister Mevlut Cavusoglu promoted to foreign minister.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who took over Erdogan's former job on Thursday, announced a ministerial line-up little changed from Erdogan's cabinet, with only four new names.

Davutoglu had won approval for his cabinet at a meeting with Erdogan at the presidential palace.

The most notable appointment was that of Cavusoglu to the post of foreign minister, taking over the post that Davutoglu had himself held since 2009.

A figure seen as reassuring for the United States and the European Union, many will want Cavusoglu to rebalance Turkish foreign policy which was condemned in some quarters for over-ambition under Davutoglu.

Press reports had suggested the head of Turkey's intelligence service, Hakan Fidan as a possible new foreign minister.

Former president Abdullah Gul, a former close comrade and co-founder of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), appears now to have fallen out with the feisty Erdogan and will play no role in the new government.

But key economic figures Ali Babacan and Mehmet Simsek keep their respective posts as deputy prime minister and finance minister, a move set to reassure markets which see them as guarantors of good economic policy under the AKP.

Among the new members of the government is Yalcin Akdogan, a former advisor of Erdogan and ultra-loyal figure, who has been made a deputy prime minister.

There is only one woman in the cabinet, Family and Social Policy Minister Aysenur Islam.

Erdogan has vowed to continue his transformation of Turkey as president, after ruling the country since 2003 as prime minister with a distinctive cocktail of Islamic-tinted and growth-orientated policies.

The presidency has in recent years been a largely ceremonial role but Erdogan has vowed to be a different kind of head of state and few doubt he will remain the undisputed Turkish number one.

"The gates of a great new Turkey have opened," headlined the strongly pro-Erdogan Sabah newspaper with a picture of Erdogan at the front door of the Cankaya presidential palace.

Kurds, EU the Priorities

Erdogan won the presidential election on Aug. 10 with almost 52 percent of the vote, the first time Turks have directly elected their head of state.

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