Former interior minister Süleyman Soylu made a surprising visit on Tuesday to his successor, Ali Yerlikaya, following a suicide bombing in Ankara that has fueled speculation of internal divisions within Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The visit comes on the heels of a suicide bombing near Turkey’s parliament, which left two police officers injured and raised questions about the country’s internal security.
Soylu, who now leads the Internal Affairs Committee at the Turkish Parliament, was accompanied by members of the committee from the AKP, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Good (İYİ) Party.
Yerlikaya later took to social media to express his gratitude for the visit.
The attack on Sunday attack has raised concerns about intelligence shortcomings, as the attackers managed to reach Ankara without setting off alarms in Turkey’s license plate identification system.
Questions have arisen regarding whether these shortcomings were due to incompetence on the part of Interior Minister Yerlikaya or possible sabotage by police officers loyal to former interior minister Soylu. Social media accounts associated with Soylu’s supporters accused Yerlikaya of neglecting terrorist threats.
Following the attack, key political figures rumored to be at odds with Soylu, including former interior ministers Efkan Ala and Selami Altınok, as well as former parliament speaker Mustafa Şentop, visited Yerlikaya.
Soylu’s departure from the interior ministry had brought his alleged involvement in international drug trafficking and ties to mafia groups into the spotlight, leading to significant changes in the Turkish police force and a crackdown on an international cocaine ring.
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has initiated an investigation into the attack, leading to restrictions on access to news related to the incident and the detention of dozens over suspected links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which claimed responsibility for the attack.