New Turkish breakaway parties could end Erdoğan's era - analyst

Two new political movements set up former breakaway members of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) could turn voters away from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Aslı Aydıntaşbaş, a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said in the Washington Post.

Erdoğan's AKP, in power since 2002, has seen a number of defections by former allies in recent months as party heavyweights, former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and former deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, have worked to form new parties.

Turkey transitioned from a parliamentary to an executive presidential system after national elections in June 2018 and the required vote for the country’s top position raised to 50 percent plus one, new political parties could play a prominent role in the outcome of the next presidential elections in 2023, Aydıntaşbaş said.

"With Davutoğlu’s 'Future Party,' and another soon-to-form breakaway party led by former finance minister Ali Babacan, it is hard to imagine Erdoğan as a lifetime president," she said.

Aydıntaşbaş pointed to a century-long tradition of Turkish voters turning away from authoritarian leaders when they overextended.

"But it’s not clear when the next democratic correction might happen," she said.

U.S.-Turkey relations could affect the lifetime of Erdoğan's rule as U.S. President Donald Trump’s possible re-election would help the Turkish president and imposing U.S. sanctions on Turkey could prompt consolidation of nationalist votes around him, Aydıntaşbaş said.

But the impact of these effects would be short-lived, she said.

"Many Turks want to reclaim their democracy, and their numbers are growing."