Süleyman Soylu

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Süleyman Soylu
Süleyman Soylu in Tehran 01.jpg
Minister of the Interior
Assumed office
31 August 2016
PresidentRecep Tayyip Erdoğan
Prime MinisterBinali Yıldırım
Preceded byEfkan Ala
Minister of Labour and Social Security
In office
24 November 2015 – 31 August 2016
Prime MinisterAhmet Davutoğlu
Binali Yıldırım
Preceded byAhmet Erdem
Succeeded byMehmet Müezzinoğlu
Deputy Leader of the Justice and Development Party
Assumed office
30 September 2012
LeaderRecep Tayyip Erdoğan
Ahmet Davutoğlu
Binali Yıldırım
Member of the Grand National Assembly
In office
7 July 2018 – 10 July 2018
ConstituencyIstanbul (II) (2018)
In office
7 June 2015 – 7 July 2018
ConstituencyTrabzon (June 2015, Nov 2015)
Leader of the Democrat Party
In office
6 January 2008 – 16 May 2009
Preceded byMehmet Ağar
Succeeded byHüsamettin Cindoruk
Personal details
Born (1969-11-21) 21 November 1969 (age 51)
Istanbul, Turkey
Political partyTrue Path Party (1987–2002)
Democrat (2007–09)
Justice and Development Party (2011–present)
Spouse(s)Hamdiye Soylu
Cabinet64th, 65th

Süleyman Soylu (Turkish pronunciation: [sylɛjman sojˈɫu] born 21 November 1969) is a Turkish politician. He is a deputy chairman of the Justice and Development Party who currently serves as the Minister of the Interior since 31 August 2016. He previously served as the Minister of Labour and Social Security from November 2015 to August 2016. He is a former leader of the Democrat Party (DP).

Soylu was appointed as the Interior Minister after the surprise resignation of Efkan Ala, with Soylu commenting that his appointment 'came as a surprise' to him as well.[1]

Soylu was known for his divisive style, often accusing the opposition of "siding with terrorists" and imposing restrictive measures on opposition-controlled municipalities.[2][3] His re-appointment as Interior Minister after Erdoğan's election victory in 2018 was protested by opposition parties, whose MPs turned their backs as Soylu took the oath of office in Parliament.[4] He removed large numbers of Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) mayors and officials from their offices due to alleged affiliation with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), replacing ousted mayors with Ankara-appointed trustees.[5] While these actions have received positive responses from some nationalist politicians, opposition parties and human rights groups have condemned the removals.[6][7]

Early life and business career[edit]

Süleyman Soylu was born in Istanbul on 21 November 1969. He graduated from Istanbul University Faculty of Management.[8] He started business career in Istanbul Stock Exchange in 1990.[9]

Political career[edit]

Democrat Party[edit]

He started politics at Democrat Party (DP) Istanbul Youth Branch in 1987. He took the positions of member of board of directorates, and chairman of the organization at youth branch of Democrat Party Istanbul.

In 1995, he was elected to the board of directorates in Gaziosmanpaşa branch, and with the congress held on 17 July 1995, he was elected as the chairman of the district at the age of 25. On 18 April 1999, he announced his candidacy for the mayor of Gaziosmanpaşa municipality which is district of Istanbul.

He became DP Istanbul Chairman on 29 April 1999 which made him the youngest chairman in the Turkey at that time. He resigned from the presidency, which lasted 3.5 years, to run for the elections to become a Member of the Parliament of Turkey in 2002. Süleyman Soylu was elected for party leadership with the 4th Extraordinary Congress of Democrat Party on 6 January 2008. After being reelected for the leadership at the 9th Statutory Congress on 15 November 2008, he led his party for 29 March 2009 local elections. On 16 May 2009, at the congress, which took place according to his will, his party leadership ended.[10]

Afterwards, he participated in many conferences and panels upon invitations coming from various universities and civil societies all over the country.

Süleyman Soylu realized the vital importance of the change of constitution package, which was opened for referendum of 12 September 2010 for the transition and democratization of Turkey, organized a series of seminars with the title of “Democracy meetings”, and together with his friends by travelling all around Turkey, shared grounds for voting “yes”. Following these activities, he was expelled from his party.[11]

Justice and Development Party[edit]

Soylu was invited to be an AKP politician by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then AKP Chairman and Prime Minister. Soylu joined the AKP on 5 September 2012.[12] On 30 September 2012, with the 4th Statutory General Congress of AKP, he was elected for the Central Board of Executives, and became Deputy Chairman responsible for R&D Department.

He served as 'Minister of Labour and Social Security' in the third Davutoğlu Cabinet (24 November 2015 – 24 May 2016) and in the Yıldırım Cabinet until 31 August 2016. Then, PM Yıldırım surprisingly appointed him Minister of the Interior after he had sacked Efkan Ala.[citation needed]

Resignation from the Ministry[edit]

On 10 April 2020, the Turkish government announced that a 48-hour curfew will be imposed in 31 cities due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was announced approximately 2 or 3 hours before the start of the curfew and caused a panic buying.[13] On 12 April 2020, Soylu announced his resignation, saying he was responsible for that chaos.[14] However, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan rejected his resignation request.[15][16] Before Erdoğan's rejection of the resignation, the hashtag "We don't accept the resignation,” #İstifayıKabulEtmiyoruz, quickly became a top trend on Twitter following the resignation of Soylu, a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) favourite among supporters.[17]

Removal of HDP officials[edit]

As Interior Minister, Soylu has replaced at least 45 out of 65 mayors from municipalities won by the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) with Ankara-appointed trustees over alleged affiliation with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).[18] At least 21 of these mayors were jailed.[18] Later in February 2021, Soylu had more than 700 HDP district and provincial chairpersons arrested.[5] These actions received positive responses from some nationalist politicians including Devlet Bahçeli of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), but inspired condemnation from members of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and human rights groups, with Human Rights Watch describing charges leveled against HDP officials as "trumped up" and "politically motivated".[6][7][19] After Istanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu visited some of the jailed mayors, Soylu defended the arrests by saying "they’ve never denied, to this day, having a connection to the PKK", and threatened to "ruin" İmamoğlu if he continued "busying [himself] with other affairs".[20]


  1. ^ Hürriyet online: İçişleri Bakanı Süleyman Soylu: Benim için de sürpriz oldu
  2. ^ "CHP spokesperson slams minister over terror accusations - Turkey News". Hürriyet Daily News.
  3. ^ "Süleyman Soylu'dan Ekrem İmamoğlu'na hakaret". www.cumhuriyet.com.tr.
  4. ^ "Süleyman Soylu yemin ederken CHP'liler arkasını döndü".
  5. ^ a b "Turkish Kurds disappointed and appalled by potential HDP ban". Deutsche Welle. 20 March 2021. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  6. ^ a b Jones, Dorian (19 August 2019). "Key Kurdish Mayors Expelled as Turkey's Erdogan Increases Pressure on Pro-Kurdish Movement". www.voanews.com. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  7. ^ a b "Turkey: Kurdish Mayors' Removal Violates Voters' Rights". Human Rights Watch. 7 February 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  8. ^ "Süleyman Soylu kimdir? Süleyman Soylu kaç yaşında ve aslen nerelidir?" (in Turkish). Sözcü. 12 April 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Süleyman Soylu kimdir?" (in Turkish). Cumhuriyet. 1 September 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  10. ^ "DP seeks new leader after Soylu announces resignation". Today's Zaman. 4 April 2009. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  11. ^ "Democrat Party to expel former leader, yea-sayer Soylu". Today's Zaman. 9 August 2010. Archived from the original on 21 January 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  12. ^ "Former Democrat Party leader joins ruling AKP". Today's Zaman. 5 September 2012. Archived from the original on 1 November 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  13. ^ "Turkey Imposes 48-Hour Coronavirus Curfew In Major Cities With Little Warning". npr.org. 11 April 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  14. ^ "İçişleri Bakanı Süleyman Soylu istifa etti". Milliyet (in Turkish). 12 April 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  15. ^ "İçişleri Bakanı Süleyman Soylu'nun istifa açıklamasına ilişkin duyuru". Directorate of Communications (in Turkish). 11 April 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  16. ^ "Announcement regarding Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's resignation statement". wt.iletisim.gov.tr (in Turkish). Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  17. ^ "Turkish President Erdoğan rejects Interior Minister's resignation". Ahval. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Turkey continues to oust Kurdish mayors, replace with trustees". Al-Monitor. 15 May 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  19. ^ "Turkey: Politicians, lawyers, activists targeted in new wave of mass arrests". Amnesty International. 26 October 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  20. ^ "Turkish interior minister threatens to "ruin" opposition Istanbul mayor over support for Kurdish HDP". Ahval. 3 September 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2021.

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