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Turkish interior minister resigns in surprise move

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

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

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

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

Mr Yildirim thanked Mr Ala "for his services." The ministerial change follows a failed July 15 coup, which was blamed on supporters of US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, an arch enemy of Erdogan.

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

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

Mr Ala leaves the post as the insurgency between Turkish security forces and militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rages following the collapse of a two-year truce last summer.

AFP