Turkey's ruling party loses tens of thousands of members in two months

The number of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)'s members has dropped by some 60,000 following the fracturing within the party in the aftermath of the Istanbul elections, Artı Gerçek reported on Tuesday.

According to official figures, the number of AKP members has decreased from 9.7 million to 9.1 million between September to October, Artı Gerçek said, adding that over 900,000 memberships have been cancelled since August 2018.

Former party heavyweights, including ex-prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Ali Babacan, a former deputy prime minister, have resigned to set up rival movements following the AKP’s weak showing in the March 2019 local elections.

Many cite discontent with the AKP as the reason for the slide in the party's membership. But, Turkish President Recep Erdoğan has shrugged off the resignations, saying that most are due to deaths of former AKP members rather than intraparty dissent.