Antalya, Nov 20 () - Questions have arisen over the possible future cabinet role of former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, after he failed to attend the G-20 Summit in Antalya.
Many local and foreign officials and businesspeople have questioned why Babacan, a respected economic technocrat, did not attend the summit, as he had played a significant role in developing Turkey’s G-20 policy map during his tenure as the deputy prime minister responsible for economic issues.
His successor, Cevdet Yılmaz, attended the summit in Antalya, which was interpreted differently by summit participants. While some said Babacan’s non-attendance was normal as his successor Yılmaz was there, others have claimed that he was not invited to a pre-summit meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the G-20 Task Force Representatives on Nov. 8, which was a strong signal that he would not attend the G-20 Summit in the southern province of Antalya.
Following the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) surprising regaining of its parliamentary majority in the Nov. 1 election, business circles and international markets have been speculating about the formation of the government’s economic team, and particularly the role of Babacan. Some have even suggested that the former deputy prime minister could be in line to be appointed as Turkey’s new foreign minister.
İzmir deputy Binali Yıldırım, one of President Erdoğan’s closest aides, and Erdoğan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak, who was elected as an MP on Nov. 1, attended Erdoğan’s meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the G-20 Summit. Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek, who is also considered an economic technocrat similar to Babacan, also attended the meeting, while Energy Minister Ali Rıza Alaboyun was present for Erdoğan’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Babacan did not attend any of these meetings, nor did he attend any of the Business-20 (B-20) meetings that took place at the same time. The only event that he attended was a reception hosted by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu that took place on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Antalya.