Jun 07 2019

Gül, Babacan to act in autumn for new Turkish conservative political party - Economist

Evidence is mounting that former allies of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are on the verge of creating a rival political party and the group will act in the autumn, according to a former government adviser, the Economist reported

Before local polls on March 31, Turkish media reported that two different initiatives headed by former luminaries of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) were planning to announce the establishment of new political parties. 

The speculations spiked after both former President Abdullah Gül and former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu separately criticised the AKP’s efforts to annul the Istanbul vote in which the opposition’s mayoral candidate had been declared the winner. Davutoğlu also published a long manifesto on Facebook criticising Erdoğan’s policies three weeks after March 31 local polls.

Gül is reportedly acting together with Ali Babacan, a former deputy minister in charge of the economy. The group was planning to launch their new party early in the year, but decided to wait until after local elections. Now it seems they have postponed plans once more to see the results of the rerun of the Istanbul mayoral election on June 23. 

“They will act in the autumn,” the Economist quoted former government adviser Etyen Mahçupyan as saying. 

Whether Davutoğlu will join this initiative or act alone is uncertain as he and Babacan do not get along, the Economist said citing AKP insiders.

Davutoğlu this week at an iftar dinner in his hometown, the central Anatolian province of Konya, invited people to gather around a new vision in order to save freedoms and basic values. 

“There is nothing more dangerous than a silenced society,” Davutoğlu said. “Nowadays, we have to give an account openly by addressing to each other using a wise language”.

According to the Economist, how much backing the schismatics might have among AKP voters is unclear, as though dissatisfaction with country’s direction is growing, few expect a new conservative party rivalling Erdoğan would get more than a fraction of the AKP’s support.

“Secular critics scoff that Mr Erdoğan’s former enablers will need quite a makeover before marketing themselves as his opponents,” the Economist said. 

https://www.economist.com/node/21765067