Turkish opposition DEVA holds digital opening for headquarters

Former Turkish Finance Minister Ali Babacan's new opposition Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) held on Tuesday an opening ceremony for its headquarters in capital Ankara.

The new party’s opening took place with a digital ceremony due to the coronavirus pandemic, Duvar new site reported.

Party members from 81 provinces attended the ceremony held via video conference, broadcast live on DEVA’s YouTube channel.

“Our actual construction activity starts now. We will build not only an organization but also a new political culture under this roof,” DEVA chair Babacan said in a speech during the opening ceremony.

“We will bring the word "intra-party democracy", which has been a dead concept among party regulations and programmes for decades,” Babacan said, in an apparent reference to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“We will create a new style, a new awareness of party membership, a new leadership style and a new way of doing business,’’ Babacan said.

Babacan founded DEVA, the second breakaway from AKP, in March, nearly a year after the former minister resigned from the ruling party.

The DEVA leader won plaudits for successfully guiding the economy under the AKP until he was sidelined in 2015. Babacan served as chief negotiator for Turkey’s bid to join the European Union accession and favoured good relations with the West during his time in the AKP.

Many ministers and lawmakers from AKP have joined the ranks of DEVA, which critics maintain has a real potential to pose a political challenge to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling AKP.