Istanbul ruling AKP municipality blocks access to new rival party headquarters

A ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) municipality in Istanbul has blocked access to a building rented for use as the headquarters for a new party to rival the AKP under the leadership of former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

The municipality of Istanbul’s Bahçelievler district said the renovation work was taking place in the building without a permit, left-wing newspaper Sözcü reported on Tuesday.

The former prime minister is preparing to launch a new political party to rival President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's AKP and chose the building in İstanbul’s Bahçelievler as the new party’s provincial headquarters. 

The former Erdoğan ally and his team are now looking for alternative venues in the city, Sözcü said.

Davutoğlu, a leading figure and founding member of the ruling Islamist AKP, resigned from the party on Sept. 13, accusing the party of veering away from its core principles. 

Davutoğlu’s resignation coincides with an increasing number of defections from the party in recent months, including from other party heavyweights such as former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan.