A prominent figure from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) released a statement on Thursday explicitly stating the plan to establish a new rival political party.
Ali Babacan, AKP’s former deputy prime minister, is planning to form the party this fall, T24 news portal reported on Friday, citing an adviser close to him.
The AKP’s founding member announced his resignation from the party on July 8, saying that the AKP has moved away from its founding principles.
Delivered on the occasion of the upcoming Eid religious holiday, Babacan said in the second message after his resignation that they are working to create a highly representative and inclusive team in an effort to meet the need for new strategies and plans required to tackle the problems the country is facing.
“At a time when populist trends around the world are damaging universal principles and values, when economic and financial stability is under threat, and when environmental problems are ignored, the efforts that we have initiated are being followed with interest not only in our country but also in a much wider geography,” read Babacan’s statement.
On the same day, Ahmet Edip Ugur, a former municipal mayor of the western province of Balıkesir, announced his support for Babacan, referring to him as a “very valuable and successful minister.”
“We support Babacan. He is a successful person. The country is in need of a new formation,” Islamist daily Yeni Akit quoted Ugur as saying.
Uğur resigned in tears in 2017, saying he had been threatened and had to leave his post. At the time, some well-known AKP mayors, including those in Ankara and Istanbul, were forced to resign following Erdogan’s complaints that the party was suffering from “mental fatigue.”
“One of our most important working principles is the principle of participation. We want our society to live freely and happily in prosperity and in peace. We want our people, especially our young people, to look to the future with hope,” said Babacan.
Some analysts have been speculating that Babacan’s move could cause rising discontent among members of Erdogan’s party and even a split in the party, further eroding support for AKP after a stinging electoral defeat in Istanbul in June.
Two more figures behind new party plans are former President Abdullah Gul and AKP’s former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who has also been openly critical of the Erdogan regime. Although Davutoglu is also planning a new movement, it seems he will not move together with Gul and Babacan yet.
Erdogan previously threatened that “those who betray will pay a heavy price”, referring to Babacan, Gul and Davutoglu.