Turkey's Interior Minister emerges as a rival to Erdoğan - poll

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has become a potential rival to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after securing significant support among the ruling coalition's voters, journalist Ismail Saymaz said on Saturday, citing a survey by research firm Metropoll.

"Süleyman Soylu enjoys unexpected backing among the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) base. There is no big difference with Erdoğan," Saymaz said.

As a prominent member of the cabinet known for his hard-line stance on security and his popularity among party supporters, Soylu is seen by some AKP members as a potential rival to Erdoğan’s influential son-in-law, Finance Minister Berat Albayrak.

"The support given to Soylu by the AKP and MHP support base is twice that of Berat Albayrak, who is seen as a rival to the interior minister," Saymaz said.

Soylu resigned on Apr. 12, citing his failure to successfully implement the country’s 31-province wide weekend curfew to prevent the coronavirus pandemic. But Soylu’s resignation prompted a wave of support on social media for the minister, and Erdoğan swiftly announced that he had rejected the resignation and Soylu would stay in place.