The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) said that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's rejection of Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's resignation was a method used by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to absolve itself of the responsibility to account for the abrupt lockdown decision which triggered spate of panic-buying late on April 10.Erdoğan rejects Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's resignation
“Before resigning, he [Soylu] had said that he had undertaken the decision of a curfew together with the president, but yesterday, he said that the full responsibility belonged to him. This is a statement which contradicts itself. What did he do? He is trying to absolve the president's name; and the president is trying to clear Soylu's name. This incident has turned into a method that attempts to absolve each other of the responsibility,” the HDP said in a press statement on April 13.
The press statement was read out loud by HDP group deputy chairperson Meral Danış Beştaş outside the parliament building.
The party also released a written statement regarding the incident following a Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting on April 13. Erdoğan should have removed Soylu from duty without waiting for the minister to step down himself, the HDP said in the statement.
“This was not done; and on top of that, his resignation was not accepted. Despite the Interior Minister having said that the curfew announced on Friday night had been on the instructions of the president, his later attempt to assume full responsibility for the curfew in his resignation letter is a move to clear Erdoğan's name,” the HDP said.Opposition says gov't failing in managing coronavirus crisis after sudden 2-day curfew sparks shopping rush
Soylu came in for fierce criticism after the weekend curfew to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus was announced with just two hours' notice. The declaration prompted thousands to go out on the streets to purchase food.
The scenes of overcrowded bakeries and supermarkets were widely shared on social media, with many slamming the AKP for paving the way for such an incident that completely disregarded social distancing.
Reacting to the chaotic scenes on April 10, Soylu said the curfew had been on the "instructions" of Erdoğan. But on April 12, Soylu said in his resignation letter the "entire responsibility for the implementation of this measure" belonged to him in his resignation letter. However, Erdoğan said it was not "appropriate" for the minister to resign.
The issue was also raised by Ali Babacan, the chair of Turkey's newly launched Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), during a TV program on April 13. Babacan said it is “unacceptable” that the issue has come to an end as if “nothing has happened” and no one has been really held accountable.
“Look at what we have gone through within the last 48 hours. These 48 hours have shown that this is not an administrative system. Turkey cannot be governed with this system. Accountability is very important important in what happened. I have not really understood on whom the responsibility is, who has been held responsibility [for the sudden curfew decision]. It is unacceptable to make the responsibility to sweep away and to continue things on Monday morning as if nothing happened,” Babacan said.