ANKARA—Turkey’s newly appointed Prime Minister and former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced a new cabinet on Thursday, which appears to be largely unchanged and strictly loyal to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country’s decade-long leader recently voted to become President.
Most noteworthy among the appointments, Turkey’s new foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, the country’s former Europe Minister, whose most infamous deed was reintroducing a bogus subcommittee on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) during Turkey’s chairmanship of the Council of Europe in 2011.
The head of Armenia’s parliamentary delegation at the PACE, Davit Harutiunian, accused the Strasbourg-based assembly and its then-president Cavusoglu of anti-Armenian bias. “The assembly has disgraced itself with such an overtly biased approach,” he said.
The move was seen largely as a ploy by Turkey — Azerbaijan’s closest ally — to draft an “anti-Armenian” resolution on the Karabakh conflict, as another Armenian PACE delegate, Naira Zohrabian, explained.
A year after his boondoggle at the PACE, Cavusoglu set his sights on Armenia’s international partners who dared to take a moral stand on Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide. Cavusoglu, who was at the time the leader of Erdogan’s ruling AK party, said in 2012 that French President Francois Hollande was “more dangerous that Sarkozy” when it came to the issue of criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide.
The remarks came when President Hollande reached out to the French-Armenian community and reiterated his campaign pledge to shepherd a law that would criminalize the Armenian Genocide.
Cavusoglu has also kept in line with Turkey’s thoroughly destabilizing foreign policy agenda regarding all of its neighbors. When the European Court of Human Rights ordered Turkey to pay a fine to Cyprus for its invasion of the country, Cavusoglu readily echoed Davutoglu’s objections and vows to ignore the ruling while representing Turkey in Europe.
But Cavusoglu is still somehow a figure seen as reassuring for the United States and the European Union. According to Agence France-Presse, many expect Cavusoglu to rebalance Turkish foreign policy which was condemned for over-ambition under Davutoglu. An unrealistic expectation if there ever was one.
Newly-appointed Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus put it succinctly when he admitted, “The focus of the government has not changed. It is just a partial modification.”