In Turkey / Türkiye

Ex Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu

For the last 12 months or so, the conservative milieu in Turkey has been awash with rumours of “a new political party” and these are now increasing.

By Nurettin Kurt

Published on United World International, May 4, 2019

Rumors of a “new political party” have been heard among conservative circles for more than a year (most of it them coming from the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) electorate), and have increased dramatically after the appearance of website in February that seems to indicate a new political formation. Although discussions about who is behind this site, and whether these people represent a new political movement that will become an alternative to the AKP have been going on for two months, it is quite clear that no matter what this topic will take an important place on the domestic political agenda in Turkey.

The new movement has several unofficial fronts, but the main attention of the public is focused on a few central political figures: the 11th Turkish President Abdullah Gül, the ex-Minister of Economy Ali Babacan and ex-premier Ahmet Davutoğlu. According to information discussed on the political margins, together with the advent of information on the preparation of the movement under the leadership of Abdullah Gül and Ali Babacan, ex-premier Ahmet Davutoğlu’s front is now active.

Allegedly, the initial assumptions about joint actions between these two emerging political formations are not true.

According to the available information, their work is being carried out simultaneously in two different directions. On the one hand, training is being conducted at the Davutoğlu office in the Levent district of Istanbul, and parallel to this Gül and his team are at work in Istanbul and Ankara. Informed politicians claim that Davutoğlu will not become a “part” of the movement led by Babacan, and is preparing to come up with his own movement.

There is information that Davutoğlu’s team consists mainly of his former students, the former leaders of the SETA Political, Economic and Social Research Foundation and former members of the bureaucracy. Journalist Etienne Mahcupyan, who plays the role of advisor to Davutoğlu, stated that “certain circles within the AKP are dissatisfied with things going on inside the party, such as certain appointments and unfair distribution of various state tenders, which is why they are looking for ways to create a new political party.”

With this discussion in the background, Ahmet Davutoğlu published a manifesto on his Facebook page in which he sharply criticized both the AKP’s leadership tactics and the president’s government.

In his manifesto, Davutoğlu stressed that the party “ cannot be abandoned to the status-seeking concerns of a narrow, self- serving circle that is a slave to its own ambitions,” and said:

“The fact that the President has to personally get involved in intense and often harsh political polemics as a requirement of the electoral environment causes the office to end up at suffering in the eyes of at least half of society, whereas in our state tradition the President should be equidistant from all sections of society.”

The main emphasis in his lengthy statement on Davutoğlu was on “The existence of a parallel structure within the party.” In the statement, Davutoğlu.

The main emphasis in Davutoglu’s declaration was the existence of parallel structure in party. Out of the public eye, insiders perceived Davutoglu’s words as an attack on Erdogan’s son-in-law, as well as Berat Albayrak and his team.

In turn, Ali Babacan’s team, with the support of Abdullah Gül, has their own direction. As reported, this team has serious disagreements with Davutoğlu, which began during Erdoğan Davutoğlu’s appointment to the post of prime minister. It is emphasized that representatives of these two teams are not found anywhere together except in official funeral ceremonies. According to the available information, Gül’s movement, under Babacan’s leadership, will be announced to the general public in the summer or, at the latest, at the end of this year. It seems that the expectations of the “new political entity” are connected precisely with these two figures, who have quite a few supporters both among the public and within the AKP itself.

Unlike the deep silence which Babacan maintains, Gül, acting jointly with the ex-minister of economics, occasionally makes statements on politics, economics and the results of municipal elections, which has been seen as part of his desire to emphasize his presence in the political field. In particular, Gül criticized the AKP’s appeal on the election of the mayor of Istanbul:

“The fact that this process turned out to be associated more with political rhetoric than with legal or technical issues is a serious blow to Turkey’s image. It was necessary to promptly settle all legal formalities and, by announcing the voting results, put an end to this discussion. Delaying this process harms Turkey and casts a shadow on our democratic system. In no case should Turkey be transformed into a country with a disputed electoral system, ”he said.

These words are also regarded as one of the signs of deep disagreement between the ex-president and the ruling party.

Some conservative politicians claim the need for joint action by Gül and Davutoğlu, pointing to the possible negative effects of the split in the electorate. Meanwhile, sources close to both politicians claim that there are serious differences between them on the issue of leadership, as well as a deep sense of hostility coming from the past. There are even rumors that the website’s creation in February is an attempt by Davutoğlu’s team to get ahead of Babacan’s movement.

The current leadership of the AKP is following this process as closely as the results of the municipal elections. Most of the leaders of the ruling party are interested in who exactly is in the movement when it will receive official registration and how serious its goals are. Some informed sources claim that a new political entity will create difficulties for the ruling party since its members have the support of a significant part of the public. In turn, there are a lot of those who believe that Gül and Babacan are too “indecisive and shy” to lead their own political movement and will not be able to take decisive steps in this direction.

Such is the balance of power, which in the near future will determine the course of action of those who, in the words of President Erdoğan, “got off the train,” or perhaps “were thrown out of it.” This situation is a natural result of the dissatisfaction of the electorate caused by the economic crisis, mistakes in foreign policy, as well as rumors of corruption, lawlessness, nepotism and exorbitant enrichment flourishing inside the AKP. In turn, the ruling party, which has noticed signs of an imminent threat as a result of local elections, will do everything possible to keep its electorate. Erdoğan and his team, under the leadership of Berat Albayrak’s son-in-law, will strive with all their might to “wear out and bleed” the politicians striving to create a new party.


Nurettin Kurt

Journalist, specialist in criminology, recipient of the EU Prize for Journalism and Turkish Journalists’ Association’s press freedom award , and the author of “Journalist-wolf in the stressful triangle – Incident-police proceedings-lawsuit”,  Sedat Simavi Journalism Award – 2007 (Turkey) 32 yıllık gazeteci, polis ve adliye uzmanı, Sedat Simavi Gazetecilik Ödülü başta olmak üzere, 2011 ve 2017 TGC Başarı ödülü, Avrupa Birliği Araştırmacı Gazetecilik Ödülü, iki kez Çağdaş Gazeteciler Derneği haber ödülü, yedi kez Barış Selçuk Gazetecilik Ödülü ile birlikte çeşitli Sivil Toplum Kuruluşları tarafından ödüle layık görülmüştür, ‘Olay-Polis-Adliye- Gerilim Üçgeninde Kurt Gazeteci’ isimli kitabın yazarıdır



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