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Cablegate: Turkey: Thumbnail Bios of 60th Government

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 ANKARA 002246

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TAGS: PGOV PINR TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY: THUMBNAIL BIOS OF 60TH GOVERNMENT

REF: Ankara 2235

1. (U) Thumbnail biographical sketches of the 25 ministers who
comprise Turkey's 60th Government, as presented August 29, 2007
President Gul are below in para 2. Ministers are already in place
and functioning; the government will seek a parliamentary vote of
confidence on September 5.

2. (SBU) Brief biographies of ministers are as follows:

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
-------------------------------------
Born in Istanbul in 1954, Erdogan graduated from Marmara University
Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences. He is a former
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor and a founding member of
the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP). He is chairman
of AKP. Erdogan entered parliament in 2002 on the AKP ticket from
Siirt and was re-elected in 2007 from Istanbul. He formed the 59th
government. He is married with 4 children and speaks very little
English.

State Minister and Deputy PM Cemil Cicek
------------------------------------------
Cicek was born in Yozgat in 1946. He graduated from Istanbul
University Faculty of Law in 1971 and practiced law for ten years.
He was Yozgat Mayor and started his political career in the
center-right Motherland Party (ANAP). He was State Minister in the
governments of Turgut Ozal, Yildirim Akbulut and Mesut Yilmaz and
was a member of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA)
Constitutional Committee. He was elected as an Ankara deputy on the
AKP list in the November 2002 elections and served as Justice
Minister and government spokesperson in 58th and 59th governments.
As State Minister, he will be responsible for relations with
parliament, coordinating policy on Cyprus, chairing the
Counter-Terrorism Higher Board, coordinating public management
reform works and coordinating boards and issues related to human
rights. Cicek speaks some English and French and is married with
three children.

State Minister and Deputy PM Hayati Yazici
-------------------------------------------
Yazici was born in Cayeli in 1952. A graduate of Istanbul
University Faculty of Law, he worked as a judge and was PM Erdogan's
lawyer. Yazici, a founding member of AKP, was first elected to
parliament on the AKP ticket in 2002 and re-elected from Istanbul in
2007. As State Minister, Yazici will be responsible for relations
with the Council of State and has oversight over the Customs
Undersecretariat, Directorate General of Foundations, Directorate
General of Social Assistance and Solidarity and the Promotion Fund
Board. He is married with two children.

State Minister and Deputy PM Nazim Ekren
-----------------------------------------
Born in Istanbul in 1956, Ekren is a graduate of the Bursa
University Faculty of Economics, with a PhD from Marmara University.
He also attended classes at Manchester Business School and became a
Professor at Marmara University. He served as Director General of
Vakiflar Bank and was a founding member of AKP. Ekren entered
parliament in 2002 on the AKP ticket. As State Minister, he is
responsible for coordination of economic issues and has oversight
over the State Planning Organization, the Turkish Board of
Statistics and the Southeastern Anatolia (GAP) Regional Development
Administration. He is married with two children.

State Minister Mehmet Aydin
----------------------------
Aydin was born in Elazig in 1943 and is a graduate of Ankara
University's Faculty of Theology. He received his doctorate from
Edinburgh University Department of Literature and Philosophy
Department in Scotland. Aydin served as Dean of September 9
University, Theology Faculty, in Izmir. In the 59th government he
was head of the Directorate General of Religious Affairs (Diyanet).
As State Minister, he will be responsible for coordinating
information and technology activities. He speaks English, French
and Arabic and is married.

State Minister Murat Basesgioglu
---------------------------------
Basesgioglu was born in Kastamonu in 1955. He graduated from
Istanbul University Faculty of Law and worked as a freelance
attorney for seven years in Kastamonu. He entered politics in 1984

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on the ANAP ticket, and served as Minister of Interior in the 55th
government led by Mesut Yilmaz. He was elected on AKP ticket in the
November 3, 2002 general elections and assigned as Minister of Labor
and Social Security. As State Minister, he will be responsible for
coordination of collective bargaining with the public sector.
Married with two children, Basesgioglu does not speak English.

State Minister Kursad Tuzmen
-----------------------------
Tuzmen was born in Ankara in 1958. He is a graduate of Ankara's
Middle East Technical University Faculty of Management and has a PhD
from Illinois University. He served Foreign Trade Under Secretary.
Before that he served as Director General and Deputy Director
General at the State Planning Organization and the Treasury State
Planning Organization, respectively. Tuzmen entered Parliament on
the AKP ticket in 2002. He is a former Environment and State
Minister. As State Minister, he will be responsible for
coordinating construction and engineering esrvice abroad and has
oversight over the Foreign Trade Undersecretariat. He speaks
English and is married with two children.

State Minister Nimet Cubukcu
----------------------------
An AKP deputy for Istanbul, Cubukcu was born in 1965. She graduated
from Istanbul University Faculty of Law and is a founding member of
AKP. She was a member of Parliament's commission for the
investigation of graft. At the last AKP congress she was given a
post on the AKP administrative council. Cubukcu served as State
Minister in the 59th Government and played a leading role in shaping
arrangements related to women in the new penal code. As State
Minister, she is affiliated with directorates dealing with the
disabled, women, the elderly and family issues. She is married and
has a son.

State Minister Mehmet Simsek
----------------------------
Simsek was born in the town of Gercus in Batman province, the
youngest of 9 children. His mother died when he was 5 years old.
His parents were not literate. He graduated from Ankara
University's Faculty of Political Sciences and traveled to Britain
for post-graduate studies on a state scholarship. He worked as an
economist in the US Embassy in Ankara. In 1997 he won a Diversity
Visa to the US. He worked at UBS Bank in NYC, then moved to London
to join Merrill Lynch as head of its Europe, Middle East and Africa
Economic and Strategic Research Department. As State Minister, he
will be responsible for the Treasury Undersecretariat and associated
with the Central Bank. He speaks fluent English. He is married.

State Minister Mustafa Said Yazicioglu
--------------------------------------
Born in Surmene in 1949, Yazicioglu is a graduate of Ankara
University's Faculty of Theology. He earned a PhD from the
Sorbonne. Yazicioglu became a Professor at Ankara University's
Faculty of Theology and is former president of the Religious Affairs
Director and former Dean of Ankara University's Faculty of Theology.
He entered parliament on the AKP ticket in 2002. As State
Minister, he will be responsible for the problems of Turks living
abroad and for relations with the Turkic republics in Central Asia.
Affiliated institutions include the Directorate General of Religious
Affairs (Diyanet) and the Turkish International Cooperation and
Development Agency. He speaks French and Arabic and is married with
two children.

Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin
----------------------------------
Sahin was born in Karabuk in 1950. He graduated from Istanbul
University's Faculty of Law and practiced law for a while as a free
lance attorney. He was first elected to parliament on the Welfare
Party (Refah) ticket in 1995 from Istanbul. A founding member of
AKP, he was re-elected to parliament in 2002 and 2007 on the AKP
ticket. Sahin was Deputy PM in the 59th government. He is married
with four children.

Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul
----------------------------
Gonul was born in Erzincan in 1939. After graduating from Ankara
University's Political Sciences Faculty in 1962, he earned his
master's degree from Southern California University. He joined the
Interior Ministry and served as a sub-governor and governor in
several sub-provinces and provinces. Gonul then served as Chairman
of the Court of Accounts (Sayistay). He was elected to parliament

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on the Felicity Party (Fazilet) ticket in the April 1999 elections,
joined AKP in 2002 and was re-elected in 2002 and 2007. He is
married with three children. He speaks English.

Interior Minister Besir Atalay
-------------------------------
Born in Keskin in 1947, Atalay graduated from Ankara University's
Faculty of Law and did his post-graduate studies in the same
faculty. He worked as a professor at Erzurum's Ataturk University
and at Marmara University, and served as Department Head of Planning
at the State Planning Organization. A founding member and former
Rector of Kirikkale University, Atalay was Coordinator of the Ankara
Social Studies Center. Prior to entering politics, he founded the
ANAR and Pollmark polling companies. Atalay entered Parliament on
the AKP ticket in 2002 elections and was assigned as State Minister
with the portfolio of State Statistics Institute, Promotion Fund,
Press and Publications Directorate, TIKA (Turkish Cooperation and
Development Administration), Social Assistance and Solidarity Fund,
TRT, Anatolian News Agency and RTUK. He speaks some English and is
married with three children.

Foreign Minister and Chief Negotiator Ali Babacan
--------------------------------------------- -----
Babacan was born in Ankara in 1967 and graduated from Middle East
Technical University in 1989. He went to the U.S. in 1990 on a
Fulbright scholarship. From 1990-92 he completed his MBA at
Northwestern University Kellogg School with a focus on marketing,
organization and international business administration. He has been
in the trade business in Ankara since 1994. Babacan entered
parliament in 2002 on the AKP ticket and served as State Minister in
charge of economy. He was then tasked as Chief Negotiator with the
EU, a portfolio he carried concurrently with his ministerial
position. He speaks English and is married with two children.

Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan
---------------------------------
Born in 1946, Unakitan graduated from the Ankara Academy of
Economics and Commercial Sciences. He worked as a Finance Ministry
Inspector, then Deputy Director General and Director General at SEKA
Cellulose Factories, then a state-run enterprise. He was an
Executive Board member of the Family Finance Company. A friend of
the PM's, he entered Parliament on the AKP ticket in 2002, after
which he was assigned as Minister of Finance, a post he retains in
this government. Unakitan speaks English. He is married with three
children.

Education Minister Huseyin Celik
--------------------------------
Born in Gurpinar township of Van in 1959, Celik graduated from
Istanbul University's Faculty of Literature. He obtained master's
degrees from Van's Centennial University in Turkish Literature and
from London University in Turkish Politics. He received his
doctorate from Istanbul University's Social Sciences Institute. He
served as Science and Literature Department Head at Centennial
University. He first entered Parliament on the True Path Party
(DYP) ticket in the 1999 elections. A founding member of AKP, Celik
was re-elected to parliament on the AKP ticket in the 2002 and 2007
elections. He was Culture Minister in the 58th government and
Education Minister in the 59th government, a portfolio he retains in
this government. Celik is married with three children.

Public Works Minister Faruk Nafiz Ozak
---------------------------------------
Ozak was born in Trabzon in 1946 and is a graduate of the Black Sea
Technical University Faculty of Civil Engineering. He is former
President of the Trabzonspor soccer team. Ozak entered Parliament
on the AKP ticket in 2002 and was named Public Works Minister in
2005, a portfolio he retains. He speaks English and is married with
two children.

Health Minister Recep Akdag
---------------------------
Born in Erzurum in 1960, Akdag graduated from Ataturk University's
Medical Faculty and subsequently worked at different administrative
positions within Ataturk University's Medical Faculty. Akdag
entered parliament on the AKP ticket in 2002 and served as Health
Minister in the 59th government, where he dealt with Avian Influenza
outbreaks. He speaks English. Hs is married with five children.

Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim
-----------------------------------------

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Born in Refahiye in 1955, Yildirim is a graduate of Istanbul's
Technical University Ship Construction and Maritime Sciences
Faculty. Received his master's at World Maritime University. He
was Director General of Istanbul Sea Buses Administration. A
founding member of AKP, he entered Parliament on the AKP ticket in
2002 and served as Transportation Minister in the 59th government.
He speaks English and French and is married with three children.

Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker
--------------------------------
Eker was born in 1956 in Bismil, graduated from Ankara University's
Veterinary Faculty, received a Master's Degree from the British
University of Aberdeen on agriculture economics, and received his
PhD from Ankara University's Health Sciences Institute. He moved to
the Agriculture Ministry following his service in the Istanbul
Municipality, and served as Deputy Director General in Agriculture
Production and Development Department, and as Director General in
the Agriculture Protection and Control Departments. Eker was
serving as the Agriculture Ministry Advisor before entering
politics. He is married with three children. He speaks English.


Labor Minister Faruk Celik
--------------------------
Born in Yusufeli in 1956, Celik is a graduate of Bursa High Islamic
Institute as well as Yildiz Technical University's Business
Administration Department in Istanbul. He worked as a teacher
before starting up a private commercial business. He first entered
Parliament from Bursa in the 1999 elections on the Fazilet ticket.
A founding member of AKP, he was re-elected in 2002 and 2007 on the
AKP ticket. He is married with four children.

Industry and Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan
-------------------------------------------
Caglayan was born in Mus in 1957 and graduated from the Gazi
University Faculty of Engineering in 1979. He entered business life
in 1980 and is the owner of Akel Aluminum Company. He was elected
to the Ankara Chamber of Industry as a member in 1987 and was
elected Chamber President in 1995. He entered politics on AKP
ticket in the 2007 general elections. He is married with two
children.

Energy Minister Hilmi Guler
---------------------------
Born in Ordu in 1949, Guler is a graduate of Middle East Technical
University's Metallurgy Engineering Department. He received his PhD
from the same university. He served as project engineer and group
leader at TUSAS, and as an executive board member of TUBITAK. He
served as Director General of Etibank. A founding member of AKP, he
entered parliament in 2002 from Ordu and was re-elected in 2007.
He served as Minister of Energy and Natural resources in 59th
government and retains his portfolio. Guler speaks English. He is
married with two children.

Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay
---------------------------------------------
Gunay was born in Ordu on the Black Sea coast in 1948. He graduated
from Istanbul University's Faculty of Law and started to work as a
freelance lawyer in Ordu. He joined the center-left Republican
People's Party (CHP) in the early 1970s and became Ordu provincial
chairman in 1974. Between 1977-1980 he was CHP's MP from Ordu.
From 1986-1987, he was Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP) Ankara
Provincial Chairman, and SHP Secretary General from 1990-91. He
then returned to CHP and was Secretary General of the party between
1992-1994. Gunay challenged CHP chairman Baykal at the party
convention after the 1999 general elections and was then expelled
from the party due to differences of views with the party
administration. He entered parliament on the AKP ticket in 2007
elections. He is a strong environmentalist. He speaks English and
is married with two children.

Environment and Forestry Minister Veysel Eroglu
--------------------------------------------- --
Born in Afyon in 1948, Eroglu entered the Faculty of Civil
Engineering at Istanbul Technical University. From 1980-81 he was
employed at the same university as an assistant lecturer (having
gained his doctorate), and from 1984-1986 he continued as Associate
Professor. In 1991, he became Head of the Department of
Environmental Engineering, with the title of full Professor. He
served as Director General of Istanbul's Water and Sewage
Institution and State Waterworks Institution. He is the author of

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more than 250 academic works. Eroglu entered Parliament on the AKP
ticket in 2007. He is married with four children.

WILSON

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