Turkey's new president approved a Cabinet with a mix of Islamist and secular figures, many with reformist backgrounds that signal the Islamic-oriented government's commitment to winning entry into the European Union.
President Abdullah Gul, a devout Muslim who has pledged to respect the country's traditional separation of religion and state, swiftly signed off on a Cabinet proposed by his old ally, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The 25-member Cabinet, which includes eight new members, has strong business credentials and appears designed to project a moderate image.
"We will work for more freedoms and for more economic welfare," Erdogan said after Gul approved the list Wednesday. "We will continue on our path, with a new enthusiasm, with the new blood that we have brought in. We have formed a strong team."
Opponents have said they will watch Gul closely for signs of cronyism at the expense of the presidency's traditional role as a check on government. Gul, who won the presidency in a parliamentary vote on Tuesday, has the power to veto legislation and official appointments.