Turkish PM to head economic coordination, further clipping Simsek's wings

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ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Prime Minister Binali Yildirim will chair meetings of Turkey’s Economic Coordination Board, the government said on Friday, in what appeared to be a further trimming of the powers of Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek.

Simsek, an economic reformer, was in full charge of the economy in the previous government but his responsibilities have shrunk in the new cabinet announced this week, with some powers transferred to an ally of President Tayyip Erdogan.

Simsek will continue to oversee the treasury and central bank but will no longer be in charge of regulating commercial lenders or the capital markets. Those responsibilities will pass to fellow Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli.

In a memorandum published on Friday in its Official Gazette, the government said the prime minister will head the Economic Coordination Board, taking over a position which Simsek held in the previous government. In the prime minister’s absence, Simsek will chair meetings.

The board meets regularly, usually on a weekly basis, to discuss and set macro-economic policy.

Simsek’s reappointment this week had initially reassured investors, nervous that economic management might fall more into the hands of Erdogan advisers, who champion growth policies at the expense of badly needed reforms.

Yildirim, a close confidante of Erdogan for two decades, named his cabinet on Tuesday and has made clear his priority is changing the constitution to give Erdogan the full executive powers he wants.

Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by David Dolan