New Turkish Interior Minister Ala reflects PM’s roadmap
Efkan Ala, a former governor, replaced Muammer Güleras the Interior Minister. CİHAN photoThe appointment of Efkan Ala, the former undersecretary of the Prime Ministry, as the new interior minister of Turkey, which has been going through political turmoil, has been widely considered as the most evident signal reflecting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s resolve to play it tough, along what he has already labeled as a “fight for independence.”
Erdoğan reshuffled his Cabinet on Dec. 25 after three key ministers resigned over a sweeping corruption and bribery scandal that has targeted his allies and rattled his government.
Many are convinced the probe is fallout from a severe power struggle between Erdoğan’s government and the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen’s movement. Ala, with his vast experience in bureaucracy, is expected to play a central and practical role in purging the followers of the Gülen movement, who are particularly influential in the police and judiciary.
Before being appointed as the undersecretary of the Prime Ministry in 2007, Ala was the governor of Diyarbakır, a metropolitan city in the predominantly Kurdish populated southeastern Anatolia, where grassroots of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are strong.
Ala is the only new minister among all 10 replacements that is not a member of Parliament.
According to main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Ala is “an element of the deep state.”
Speaking in a live interview during the same hours when Erdoğan announced the Cabinet reshuffle late on Dec. 25, Kılıçdaroğlu suggested Erdoğan was trying to rule via a secretive “deep state.”
His argument was a reflection of speculation that the reshuffle would facilitate tightening controls on police, which has already been beleaguered by government-ordered purges.
“The AKP [the ruling Justice and Development Party] deputies should ask themselves; isn’t there anybody among all of the parliamentarians who could be the interior minister you are appointing the prime ministry undersecretary to that post,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, when reminded of the fact that Ala’s appointment led to labeling of the new composition of the government as a “war cabinet against the Gülen community.”
As he took over the post from the former Interior Minister Muammer Güler because his son was involved in the graft probe as a suspect, Ala, on Dec. 26, maintained attacks aimed at Turkey’s stability were not coincidental, as they have come after sustainable economic, social and political development in Turkey in last 11 years, that is to say, during the AKP’s rule.
“We have overcome many problems earlier,” Ala said, voicing resolve for overcoming today’s problems too. “We haven’t promised a problem-free Turkey, but as being led by the esteemed leaders, we have promised governance that would be able to resolve its problems and we are carrying this out.”