Agbal builds trust in Turkey

Eric Ellis
Published on:

Naci Agbal spent most of his career as a technocrat at the Turkish ministry of finance. Euromoney spoke to Agbal about his new role as finance minister when the world around him seems to be falling apart.

It is mid-morning on May 5, and Turkey’s capital Ankara is, if not in turmoil, then undergoing a reasonable approximation of it.

For days, rumours have rippled through the city that Turkey’s increasingly autocratic president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed another in a long line of scalps, this time the head of the well-liked prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu. The markets, too, are uneasy, with the lira and Borsa Istanbul’s benchmark index suffering the biggest falls of the year. 

As rumours of Davutoglu’s exit become fact, an edginess descends over Ankara and government buildings like the finance ministry, headed since last November by Naci Agbal, one of the few not cited as Davutoglu’s possible replacement. 

A former taxman who became a member of parliament only last year at Erdogan’s urging, Turkey’s new finance minister has a reputation for departmental efficiency. Amid the hubbub, Agbal...