Turkey's Directorate of Communications announced that Suleyman Soylu's resignation has not been accepted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Suleyman Soylu says the scenes that took place just following the declaration of the curfew on Friday night did not reflect smooth implementation of policy.
Suleyman Soylu says the scenes that took place just following the declaration of the curfew on Friday night did not reflect smooth implementation of policy. (AA)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu's resignation on Saturday.

The announcement came just hours after Soylu said he is stepping down from the post, citing recent incidents ahead of this weekend’s coronavirus curfew across much of Turkey. 

Turkey's Directorate of Communications issued a statement saying the final decision comes down to President Erdogan.

"The resignation of our Minister of Interior has not been accepted and he will continue to serve," the statement added.

Soylu had earlier taken full responsibility of the implementation of the weekend lockdown.

"In a process carried out diligently and meticulously, the responsibility for all implementation of the weekend curfew to stem the pandemic falls on me in every respect," Soylu said on Twitter.

Soylu, who has held the post since August 2016, said the scenes that took place just following the declaration of the lockdown on Friday night did not reflect smooth implementation of policy.

Panic-buying

When the two-day lockdown in 31 provinces including most of Turkey’s population was announced late Friday, set to start at midnight, crowds flocked to many shops and bakeries to buy last-minute goods, but often flouted the social distancing rules meant to stem the virus' spread.

Soylu asked President Erdogan to forgive him regarding the incident, and said he will always be faithful to his nation, which he "never wanted to harm."

"I am stepping down from my post as interior minister, which I have carried out with honour," Soylu said.

Lockdown followed by cities 

The weekend lockdown went into effect as of Friday at midnight for 48 hours in 31 provinces. 

Set to end Sunday at midnight, it has largely been followed by the 63 million people living in those provinces, out of Turkey's total population of 82 million.

As of Sunday, Turkey reported 97 more deaths from coronavirus, bringing the death toll to 1,198.

 The country also has nearly 57,000 confirmed cases.

Source: AA