Turkey’s president turned down Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu’s resignation late Sunday which he had tendered over incidents that occurred ahead of a weekend curfew across much of the country to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Soylu “submitted his resignation to the President [Recep Tayyip Erdogan], and our President told him that he did not find the request suitable,” Turkey’s Communications Directorate said in a statement.
“The resignation of our Minister of Interior has not been accepted. He will continue in his duties,” it said.
Soylu has earned the gratitude of the Turkish nation with his successful record since taking office in the wake of the defeated 2016 coup attempt, the statement added.
Announcing only a few hours ago that he was stepping down, Soylu said he was taking responsibility for incidents on Friday in the narrow window between when the curfew was declared and when it went into effect.
When the 48-hour curfew in 31 provinces was announced late Friday which was set to start at midnight, crowds flocked to many shops and bakeries to buy last-minute goods but often flouted social distancing rules meant to stem the virus’ spread.
Soylu became interior minister in August 2016, before which he was labor and social security minister, deputy leader of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and parliamentary deputy.
“Soylu has been very stern in the fight against terrorism, and his decisive steps have played a significant role in reducing the ability of terrorist organizations to carry out attacks,” the directorate said, adding Soylu also strongly coordinated efforts conducted after natural disasters such as earthquakes.
“It is true that the coronavirus epidemic has dimensions such as health services, food supply and public security.
“Our interior minister assured that no problems occurred in terms of public security in this process with his successful efforts for over a month,” it noted.
As of Sunday, Turkey reported 97 more deaths from the coronavirus, bringing the total to 1,198. The country also has nearly 57,000 confirmed cases.
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