Turkish Interior Minister resigns in surprise move

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Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala has resigned, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım announced following an unscheduled meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan late on Aug. 31. 

Labor Minister Süleyman Soylu has replaced Ala and former Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu has replaced Soylu as labor minister, Yıldırım said.

"I thank Efkan Ala, who left his post as the interior minister, for his services," Yıldırım said after meeting Erdoğan. 

"I wish the newly assigned ministers success," he added. 

The shift came at a time when the government is carrying out a large-scale campaign against the followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen following the July 15 failed coup attempt blamed on the group amid an escalation in the number of attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). 

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has also staged several bomb attacks in the past year, including the deadliest one in the country's history on Oct. 10, 2015. 

Soylu joined the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2012 and served as a party deputy leader before entering the cabinet. 

Meanwhile, Soylu said Turkey would fight the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) "plague" until no member is left.

"Turkey will get rid of this evil and cowardice. This is the decision of the Turkish Republic, the policy of the government and the order of the people. It's a big responsibility to receive this post from Efkan Ala, a beautiful son of Anatolia and our dear friend who never abandoned the road of democracy and law," Soylu said at the handover ceremony at the Interior Ministry in Ankara where he took over his new post while also vowing to fight the PKK and ISIL. 


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