Turkey's interior minister steps down in surprise move

Turkey's interior minister steps down in surprise move
Turkey's interior minister stepped down on Wednesday, as the country is engaged in a massive crackdown on people suspected of links to last month's failed coup.
2 min read
31 August, 2016
Ala has been replaced by labour minister Suleyman Soylu [Anadolu]

Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala, a loyalist of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, resigned on Wednesday in a surprise move, the prime minister announced.

After a hastily convened meeting with Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Ala had stepped down and would be replaced by Suleyman Soylu, the current labour and social security minister.

Former health minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu will become the new labor minister, Yildirim said, thanking Ala "for his services".

There was no official explanation for why Ala had quit and Turkish media said it was unexpected.

More than 50,000 people have lost their jobs nationwide and more than 18,000 have been detained following the failed 15 July coup, which was blamed on supporters of US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, an arch enemy of Erdogan.

The purge, which included military personnel and government officials, came as the government sought to weed out suspects linked to the attempted coup.

The abortive putsch raised questions about intelligence failings which government officials have acknowledged. 

Ala had served as interior minister for nearly three years. He also previously acted as undersecretary to Erdogan, when the president was prime minister.

Ala leaves the post as the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) insurgency rages on following the collapse of a two-year truce last summer.

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