Turkey: Erdogan rejects interior minister’s resignation

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ANKARA—Turkey’s president late Sunday turned down the resignation of the interior minister, tendered over incidents that took place Friday, ahead of the weekend coronavirus curfew across much of the country.

Interior Minister Suleyman 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 written statement.

Soylu has earned the gratitude of the Turkish nation with his successful record since taking the post in the wake of a defeated 2016 coup attempt, added the statement.

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 a weekend curfew was declared and when it went into effect

When the two-day curfew in 31 provinces including most of Turkey’s population was announced late Friday, set to start at midnight, crowds flocked to many shops and bakeries to buy last-minute goods, but often flouted the 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.

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