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Ilhan Tanir
May 11 2019

Former PM Davutoğlu hits back at pro-AKP media

Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu slammed the pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) media circles over a video that indirectly accuses him and other dissidents of the party of being traitors during an iftar dinner programme on Friday.  

The video in question is a clip from ''Abdulhamit Payitaht,'' a popular Turkish TV show in which the Ottoman Caliph and ruler Abdulhamit II often sends messages about current Turkish political affairs. Abdulhamid II, nicknamed the Red Sultan, ruled between August 31, 1876 until he was deposed shortly after the 1908 Young Turk Revolution, on April 27, 1909.  

Davutoğlu, in a 15-minute speech on Friday night after an iftar dinner, criticized the Erdoğan government's economic policies, and then turned to the show, in which he, along with other former AKP members who are reportedly creating an opposition political movement, were targeted and threatened.

Referring to the clip from the series that has been doing its rounds, Davutoğlu claimed that subliminal messages were delivered in this clip in the same way that "traitorous circles did in the past."

The former prime minister pointed to the Gülen movement, accused by Ankara of orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt, a group used to have newspapers and TV channels which also addressed Turkey’s pressing issues via some popular TV shows. Some of the producers and actors of those shows have since been jailed over links to the group, designated a terrorist organisation by the government. 

In clip from the TV show, Abdulhamid says something the effect of "if those who are closest to us become thorns, we would surely know how to remove them."  

"Sultan Hamid would never utter such words, directed at former parliamentarians and state officials. I don’t believe such messages are morally correct either, from the perspective of state or society," Davutoğlu said and added, "when the time comes it would be known who is/are betraying."

Underlining that he received many messages about the clip from supporters who conveyed their discontent, the former prime minister said, "One friend even phoned me over it in tears.’’ “How could they direct such messages at you”, the friend said. If anyone is going to safeguard Abdulhamid’s legacy, it will be us." 

Davutoglu, in a 15 page manifesto on April 22, criticized the Erdogan's AKP, and a small group that follows its own interest rather than that of the Islamist party and Turkey. Ali Babacan, a former deputy prime minister and fellow former AKP top official are said to be leading another internal dissident party.

Former president Abdullah Gül, in a tweet message last week, openly criticized the government for pressuring the Supreme Election Council (YSK) to cancel the Istanbul election. There are dozens of other former officials whose names are published by several newspapers as being at work to co-found new parties. 

According to @ankara_kusu, a popular anonymous Twitter account known with its relatively credible streaming of news from AKP's opposition circles and suspected to be closely linked to those circles, former deputy prime minister Babacan will release his first ever press statement to reporters next week to explain his position and address some questions on the formation of a new party.