MARDIN - Doğan News Agency
In a ceremony organized at the Interior Ministry, İdris Naim Şahin passed to torch to Muammer Güler who, in turn, gave flowers to the outgoing minister. AA photo
The newly appointed interior minister sent messages of peace regarding the Kurdish issue yesterday in the first visit of his new tenure to his hometown Mardin, in southeast Turkey.
Muammer Güler, a former Governor of Istanbul, was given a warm welcome in a city populated mostly by Kurds.
“We will make peace doves fly in the southeast. We will pursue our work steadily until everyone lives in security and happiness,” said Güler, after meeting Mardin Mayor Mehmet Beşir Ayanoğlu.
For his part, Ayanoğlu said Güler was the first official from Mardin nominated to the Cabinet in 18 years. “This is an important milestone for the future and development of the country, as well as the achievement of peace and the acceleration of the resolution process. It proves the importance given to our city” he said.
A surprise Cabinet reshuffle involving four ministers was announced on Jan. 24. The appointment of Güler, in place of İdris Naim Şahin, who was strongly criticized during his tenure for his nationalistic comments, is seen as a notable change, and has been interpreted as being designed to lend impetus to the peace process.
After serving as Istanbul governor, Güler was appointed as the public security secretary, an office affiliated with the Interior Ministry, which was founded as part of the government’s Kurdish initiative strategy in 2010.