May 19 2018

Former AKP Deputy PM to stand as CHP MP

A prominent member of the first Justice and Development Party (AKP) government who has turned into a sharp critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced to BBC Turkish that he will be standing as a parliamentary candidate in upcoming elections – for the secularist main opposition Republican People’s Party.

“I am probably going to be a parliamentary candidate for the Republican People’s Party,” Abdüllatif Şener said.

“But at the moment any kind of surprise is possible before the parties’ candidate lists are published. Thus, to make any other announcement would not be proper.”

Şener was first elected as a parliamentarian for the Islamist-origin Welfare Party in 1991, becoming finance minister in that party’s coalition government in 1996.

In 2001, he was a founder-member of the new AKP, and between 2002 and 2007 served as deputy prime minister in the Gül and Erdoğan governments. He did not re-stand for election in 2007, however, and became a critic of the AKP’s policies.

Şener once said that the AKP was “blackmailing Turkey”, and BBC Turkish questioned what he had meant by that.

In the early days of AKP rule, there were “no expressions like ‘Turkey’s existential problems’,” he replied.

“Everything was carried out properly. I just felt that there had been a stepping out of line by Erdoğan in response to certain foreign policy developments.”

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