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Erdogan rejects Turkish minister’s resignation after coronavirus lockdown criticism

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ISTANBUL (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan rejected the resignation on Sunday of Turkey’s interior minister, who said he was stepping down in the wake of a short-notice coronavirus lockdown which sent people rushing to shops to stock up on supplies.

FILE PHOTO: Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu speaks during a news conference for foreign media correspondents in Istanbul, Turkey, August 21, 2019. Ahmet Bolat/Pool via REUTERS

Authorities declared the 48-hour curfew in dozens of cities shortly before 10 pm on Friday, giving millions of people just two hours’ notice and prompting a wave of desperate last-minute buying.

“The incidents that occurred ahead of the implementation of the curfew were not befitting the perfect management of the outbreak,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said in statement on Twitter in which he said he was resigning.

Erdogan, however, judged it was not “appropriate” for Soylu to resign and the minister would continue in

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Questions linger over interior minister’s rejected resignation

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This column over the weekend underlined the need for a recalibration of Turkey’s fight against COVID-19 both scientifically and methodologically, given a general observation of the implementation of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The science part of the fight is under the helm of Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, who is leading the Science Board, while Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu is responsible for the implementation of the measures upon the recommendations of the board and instructions of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The past weekend revealed discordance between the two ministries as a result of the Interior Ministry’s very late announcement of a two-day curfew in 31 provinces late Friday that caused massive panic-buying which led to people breaching all rules of social distancing.

Soylu has publicly accepted his mistake as well as criticisms against him and announced his decision to resign from his position in order not to

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