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Turkish government announces cabinet reshuffle

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday announced a major cabinet shake-up, after his Islamist-rooted party lost support at March polls.

Map of the Middle East illustrating Turkey's geographically important position between the Arab world and Europe

Turkey'a new foreign minister has pushed for a more active policy in the Middle East

This is Prime Minister Erdogan's first major reshuffle since his AK party came to power in 2002.

A major change is the appointment of Ahmet Davutoglu, Erdogan's chief foreign policy adviser, as foreign minister, replacing Ali Babacan, who now becomes deputy prime minister responsible for the economy.

Babacan's switch of portfolio was welcomed by markets as a sign that Erdogan finally wants to tackle the economic crisis aggressively.

Davutoglu's appointment marks a rare phenomenon in Turkish politics: an official joining the cabinet without being a member of parliament. Davutoglu is credited with being the architect of Turkey's growing role in the Middle East.

In another significant change, former parliamentary speaker Bulent Arinc, who has often angered secularists with comments they regard as targeting Turkey's secular system, becomes the second of three deputy prime ministers.

Eight ministers, including those of justice, finance, energy and education, have lost their posts, while 10 - among them the ministers of the interior and defense- remain in offices.

The changes are seen as a move to reinvigorate Erdogan's Islamist-roooted AKP government which was punished with a reduced share of the vote in local elections in March.

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