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Ali Yerlikaya
Minister of the Interior
Assumed office
4 June 2023
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Preceded by Süleyman Soylu
Governor of Istanbul
In office
26 October 2018 – 4 June 2023
Preceded by Vasip Şahin
Succeeded by Davut Gül
Acting Mayor of Istanbul
In office
6 May 2019 – 27 June 2019
Preceded by Ekrem İmamoğlu
Succeeded by Ekrem İmamoğlu
Governor of Gaziantep
In office
19 February 2015 – 26 October 2018
Preceded byErdal Ata
Succeeded by Davut Gül
Governor of Tekirdağ
In office
3 August 2012 – 19 February 2015
Preceded byZübeyir Kemelek
Succeeded byEnver Salihoğlu
Governor of Ağrı
In office
13 May 2010 – 3 August 2012
Preceded byMehmet Çetin
Succeeded byMehmet Tekinarslan
Governor of Şırnak
In office
30 November 2007 – 13 May 2010
Preceded byOsman Güneş
Succeeded byVahdettin Özkan
Personal details
Born (1968-10-11) 11 October 1968 (age 55)
Konya, Turkey
ChildrenEmir Yusuf Tomruk Yerlikaya
Alma mater Istanbul University

Ali Yerlikaya (born 11 October 1968) is a Turkish bureaucrat currently serving as the minister of the interior since 4 June 2023. He previously served as the governor of Istanbul from 2018 to 2023. Following the annulment of the March 2019 Istanbul mayoral election, Yerlikaya was briefly the acting Mayor of Istanbul until a new successor was elected in a re-run in June 2019.

Prior to becoming Governor of Istanbul, Yerlikaya previously served as the governor of Şırnak from 2007 to 2010, as the governor of Ağrı from 2010 to 2012, as the governor of Tekirdağ from 2012 to 2015, and as the governor of Gaziantep from 2015 to 2018.

Early life and career

Yerlikaya graduated from the Istanbul University Faculty of Political Science in 1989, with a degree in Public Administration. He began work at the Ministry of the Interior as a candidate to become a Kaymakam (a district governor) in 1990. He served as the Kaymakam for the districts of Felahiye, Erzin, Derabucak, Hilvan and Sarıkaya during his early bureaucratic career.

Yerlikaya also served as a legal advisor to the Ministry of the Interior and the Chief of Staff at the Ministry of Health. He was also an executive board member of the Turkish Heavy Industry and Service Sector Public Employers' Union (TÜHİS).[ citation needed]


On 30 November 2007, Yerlikaya was made governor of Şırnak. Serving until 13 May 2010, he was appointed as the governor of Ağrı on the same day, serving until 3 August 2012. On 3 August 2012, he was appointed governor of Tekirdağ until 19 February 2015, on which day he became governor of Gaziantep. On 26 October 2018, he became governor of Istanbul until 4 June 2023.

Acting Mayor of Istanbul

Turkey held routine local elections on 31 March 2019. During the mayoral vote in Istanbul, the opposition Nation Alliance candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu won a surprise victory, edging past government-backed People's Alliance candidate Binali Yıldırım by a narrow 0.2% margin. The government subsequently appealed to the Supreme Electoral Council of Turkey (YSK) for a recount. After several complaints and recounts, İmamoğlu was eventually sworn in as Mayor on 18 April 2019. The YSK, however, accepted a complaint by the People's Alliance for an annulment of the elections on 6 May, thus removing İmamoğlu from his office as Mayor and scheduling fresh elections for 23 June 2019.

As customary when a political position is in doubt, the Ministry of the Interior appointed the city's incumbent governor, namely Yerlikaya, as acting Mayor of Istanbul until the vacancy could be filled by the re-run vote. [1] Yerlikaya, as acting mayor, was criticised for taking decisions that were viewed by the opposition as beyond the remit of a placeholder. [2] He was also criticised for supposedly turning a blind eye to pro-Yıldırım posters and campaigns being conducted by municipal workers, who are required to remain neutral. [3]

İmamoğlu won the re-run with a substantially increased majority, thereby taking over from Yerlikaya.

Minister of the Interior

Since June 2023, he is the interior minister in the cabinet led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. [4]


Comments about ISIL

While serving as governor of Gaziantep, Yerlikaya made a series of gaffes during statements about captured militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). On one occasion, he referred to an ISIL militant on trial in a formal manner, using the formal suffix 'bey' after his name (which he also repeated incorrectly). [5] His comments were criticised for supposedly showing ISIL militants respect. Yerlikaya responded by claiming that he had been misunderstood and that the suspected militant was innocent until proven guilty in court. [6]

On another occasion, he was criticised for commenting on an ISIL suicide bomber in an apparently supportive manner after the bomber had allegedly surrendered to the police. He again rejected criticism, saying instead that his supportive words had been directed to the police operation. [7]

Banning of Kurdish theatrical play "Beru" in Istanbul

While serving as governor of Istanbul, he banned Beru, the Kurdish adaption of Dario Fo's play "Faceless" shortly before it was to be performed by the theatre company Teatro Jiyana Nû. [8] He reasoned the play contained propaganda of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). [8] Before, it had been performed both in Turkey and also abroad without issue. [8] [9]

Personal life

Yerlikaya is married and has four children.


  1. ^ Congar, Kerem (7 May 2019). "23 Haziran'a kadar İmamoğlu yerine İstanbul Valisi Ali Yerlikaya görev yapacak". euronews.
  2. ^ "Ali Yerlikaya, İmamoğlu'nun basın danışmanını işten çıkardı". Archived from the original on 23 June 2019. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  3. ^ "İmamoğlu: Vali birileri adına cevap mı veriyor?". 17 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Turkey's new government: Erdoğan changes almost all cabinet members". Gazete Duvar. 6 April 2023. Retrieved 5 June 2023.
  5. ^ "İBB Başkanlığı'na Vali Ali Yerlikaya vekalet edecek: IŞİD militanına "bey" diye hitap etmişti!". Archived from the original on 11 September 2019. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Antep Valisi IŞİD'liyi övmedi, yargısız infazı itiraf etti". Archived from the original on 23 June 2019. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  7. ^ "Bu vali orada durdukça Antep'te daha çok bomba patlar". 17 October 2016.
  8. ^ a b c Karakas, Burcu (17 October 2020). "Turkey bans Kurdish-language play in Istanbul". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  9. ^ "Ban on Kurdish-language play in Istanbul sparks condemnation". Archived from the original on 17 October 2020.
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of the Interior
4 June 2023 – present
Preceded by Governor of Istanbul
26 October 2018 – 4 June 2023
Succeeded by