Erdoğan appoints himself chief of Turkey wealth fund, Albayrak deputy

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appointed himself chairman of Turkiye Wealth Fund Management Co. in a presidential decree published on Wednesday.

Erdoğan’s son-in-law, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, becomes the wealth fund’s deputy chairman in a complete overhaul of its board and the way members are appointed. The fund controls public assets including Turkish Airlines, Ziraat Bank, Halkbank and petroleum companies Turkiye Petrolleri and Botas.

Turkiye Wealth Fund was established in August 2016 to increase the value of Turkey’s strategic assets, contribute to economic growth and actively deepen capital markets by introducing new products. It was not immediately clear whether the fund would retain its status as a joint stock company following the restructuring.

Zafer Sonmez, head of Turkey and Africa for Malaysian investment fund Khazanah Nasional, became the fund’s general manager. Board members now include Huseyin Aydin, CEO of Ziraat Bank and chairman of the Banks Association of Turkey (TBB), Rifat Hisarciklioglu, head of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and Fuat Tosyali, the billionaire part-owner of steelmaker Tosyali Holding and a board member of the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK).

Erdoğan’s adviser Yigit Bulut, economics professor Kerem Alkin and Himmet Karadag, the newly-appointed deputy chairman of Halkbank and the fund’s acting chief, were among the departing board members.