Former Turkish Economy Czar Simsek ‘Uninterested in Politics’

Turkey’s former deputy prime minister in charge of the economy, Mehmet Simsek, said on Monday that he is not interested in active politics, while the AK Party said President Tayyip Erdogan had not offered him a post when they met.

Sources told Reuters last week that Erdogan wanted to give a top role in running the economy to Simsek, who is highly regarded in international circles, and that the party’s draft election manifesto marked a return to more orthodox, free market economic policies.

After meeting Erdogan on Monday, Simsek said he was ready to provide the necessary support in his area. “But due to my work at foreign financial institutions, I am not thinking of going into active politics,” he wrote on Twitter.

AKP spokesperson Omer Celik said Erdogan and Simsek discussed recent developments and policies. “If he preferred active politics, all the mechanisms, duties of our party would be open to Mr. Mehmet,” Celik told reporters.

Erdogan did not make an offer to Simsek regarding a ministry, vice presidency or chief adviser position on Monday, Celik said.

Turkey is due to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14 and opinion polls show that Erdogan will face his biggest electoral challenge yet in his two decades in power.