December 12, 2019

Turkey ex-PM launches new opposition party


Ahmet Davutoglu

Ahmet Davutoglu

Former Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu, an ex-ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, filed the paperwork to launch a new party on Thursday.

A delegation of Davutoglu’s associates went to the interior ministry to request the formation of the new group, which is expected to be called “Party of the Future”, a source close to the former premier told AFP.

The 60-year-old was prime minister from 2014 to 2016 after serving as foreign minister during a difficult period in Turkey’s international relations.

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He is due to present his party at a ceremony in Ankara on Friday.

Davutoglu was an academic before entering politics and was the architect of Turkey’s more assertive stance across the Middle East in the early 2010s.

He was a close ally of Erdogan from the time he took power in 2003, but the two men fell out over multiple issues, most notably constitutional changes that increased the powers of the presidency, and he was removed from office in 2016.

After a long period of silence, Davutoglu has increasingly voiced criticisms of Erdogan and finally left the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in September.

He is not the only former Erdogan ally to break ranks in recent months, with former economy minister Ali Babacan also announcing plans to set up a new party in the coming weeks.

Erdogan’s opponents hope the new formations will weaken the AKP, which already saw reverses in this year’s municipal elections, losing several key cities, including Istanbul and Ankara, in part due to weakening economic conditions.