Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu resigned on Sunday night, citing his failure in successfully steering the country’s 31-province wide weekend curfew. Soylu’s resignation came an hour before the 48-hour curfew ended.
“In a process carried out diligently and meticulously, the responsibility for all implementation of the weekend curfew to stem the pandemic falls on me in every respect,” Soylu said in a tweet. Soylu said the scenes that took place, following the announcement of the curfew on April 10, did not reflect a smooth implementation of the policy.
Video: Thousands rushed to groceries and bakeries for last minute purchases ahead of the curfew on Friday night. The crowing increased the risk of spreading of the virus and practically made the curfew …unnecessary.
“I have should not have caused such scenes in this incident, whose responsibility belongs to us,” Soylu said.
Ankara late on April 10 announced a two-day curfew in 31 provinces that took effect at midnight.
The announcement came about 10.00 p.m. local time and said it would affect 30 metropolises, including the capital Ankara, Istanbul, the Aegean province of İzmir, and Zonguldak, where respiratory diseases are intensely common among the residents.
The curfew’s announcement received many criticisms as people in the said provinces flocked to markets and bakeries who were still open for last-minute shopping.
Earlier, in an interview with daily Hürriyet, Soylu had accepted the criticisms over the timing of the announcement of the curfew.
“In the two-hour period, there was congestion in some places. I could not foresee this. I have experience but I still do not think that the limited congestion at that hour would cause a big problem,” he said.
Soylu said the scenes that took place just following the curfew announcement on Friday night did not reflect smooth implementation of policy, referring to the scramble by hundreds of thousands to markets and bakeries to stock up on essentials before midnight.
Istanbul’s Mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu said in a tweet that his municipality had not been informed about the curfew beforehand and that such unilateral decisions “only serve to create more panic and confusion.”
Earlier on Sunday, Turkey confirmed 98 new deaths due to coronavirus, bringing the total number of COVID-19 fatalities to 1,198 just hours before the end of a weekend lockdown that kept 61 million people confined to their homes.
Of Turkey’s 56,956 cases, 1,665 remain in intensive care. (sources: ahvalnews, hurriyerdailynews)
And while all Turkish and international media report about Soylu’s resignation… then this!
#BREAKING Turkish President Erdogan rejects interior minister's resignation
— ANADOLU AGENCY (ENG) (@anadoluagency) April 12, 2020
PS Soylu was the minister who opened the border gates to migrants and falsely claimed that 150,000 migrants had crossed into Greece in March.
Sic transit gloria mundi – thus passes worldly glory – as our Latin friends would say.