Turkey‘s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Twitter on April 12 that he was resigning from his post over the implementation of a two-day curfew in major Turkish cities to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
Turkey’s interior minister announced Sunday he is stepping down from the post, citing recent incidents ahead of this weekend’s coronavirus curfew across much of Turkey.
“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,” Suleyman Soylu said on Twitter.
Soylu, who has held the post since August 2016, said the scenes that took place just following the declaration of the curfew on Friday night did not reflect the smooth implementation of the policy.
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.
“I have should not have caused such scenes in this incident, whose responsibility belongs to us,” said Soylu, adding that the curfew was meant to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
He asked President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to forgive him the incident, and said he will always be faithful to his nation, which he “never wanted to harm.”
“I am stepping down from my post as interior minister, which I have carried out with honour,” Soylu said.
The weekend curfew went into effect as of Friday at midnight for 48 hours in 31 provinces. Set to end Sunday at midnight, it has largely been followed by the 63 million people living in those provinces, out of Turkey’s total population of 82 million.
Earlier, in an interview with daily Hürriyet, Soylu had accepted the criticisms over the timing of the announcement of the curfew.
Soylu had said, “I received the criticisms and I accepted them.”
“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.
Turkish President Erdogan rejects interior minister’s resignation, according to Anadolu agency
As of Sunday, Turkey reported 97 more deaths from coronavirus, bringing the death toll to 1,198. The country also has nearly 57,000 confirmed cases.