Former minister Albayrak resigns from Wealth Fund

Berat Albayrak, son-in-law to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has resigned from his deputy chairman of the Turkey Wealth Fund on Friday, following his earlier resignation as the country’s finance minister.

“Memberships of board of directors of Turkey Wealth Fund held by Berat Albayrak and Arda Ermut, who requested to exempt from their posts, have been terminated,” Turkey’s Communications Directorate said in a statement, where it also announced Erdoğan appointing Ahmet Burak Dağlıoğlu to the board.

“In the period ahead, we want to place the Wealth Fund at a distinguished position globally,” Erdoğan told reporters in Istanbul after the Wealth Fund board meeting. “For example, the visit the Qatar Emir paid to Turkey yesterday was actually one of the steps.”

Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani visited the Turkish capital yesterday, signing 10 new agreements with Turkey on military and trade cooperation.

The emirate is investing in a luxury port project in Istanbul’s historic peninsula, the Haliç Golden Horn, and has finalised the purchase of ten percent of Borsa Istanbul stock exchange’s shares as well as the billion-dollar İstinye Park shopping centre during the visit.

The new appointee to the Wealth Fund, Ahmet Burak Dağlıoğlu, is an alumnus of the Kartal İmam Hatip High School (İHL), which also has the Turkish president’s son Bilal Erdoğan among its alumni who have done well in Turkish bureaucracy under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) governments.

İmam hatips were vocational schools originally opened to train government-employed imams, but they have taken on a new meaning as alternatives to secular public education under the AKP. Many regular public middle and high schools have been converted to imam hatips in recent years, pushing secular families to private education.

Turkey’s flagship Turkish Airlines has had Kartal İHL alumni as its board chairman and members, while several other alumni have served as undersecretaries and presidential aides over the years.

Dağlıoğlu has served as Erdoğan’s Investment Agency vice president during Erdoğan’s term as prime minister, to later move on to be the Presidential Investment Agency as vice president.

The replacement in the Wealth Fund board marks the beginning of an operation against Albayrak's team, economist Emin Çapa said in a tweet.

Albayrak "was rumoured to have made high level appointments in all but three ministries, and to have been very influential. Let's see where this will go," Çapa tweeted.