Turkish former PM Davutoğlu to launch party by next week - columnist

Turkish former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is taking the final steps to launch a new political party next week to rival the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Hürriyet columnist Abdulkadir Selvi said on Friday.

Davutoğlu quit the AKP in September after the party began the process to expel him for his prolonged criticism of the government. Davutoğlu is one of several old hands from the AKP who have rebelled against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after being sidelined. He and others have said the ruling party has betrayed its founding principles to instead reward Erdoğan loyalists.

Selvi said Davutoğlu’s organisation would lodge its formal application to establish the new party with the Interior Ministry on Friday or Monday.

A name and logo for the party have been decided, but these will not be disclosed until the legal process to register them is complete, Selvi said.

The party’s constitution has also been prepared and includes demands to remove the 10-percent electoral threshold in place in Turkey since the 1980 military coup and to switch from a multi-member to a single-member district electoral system, Selvi said.

Davutoğlu’s new party will also stand against the executive presidential system of governance that Turkey switched to in 2018, placing vast executive authority in Erdoğan’s hands including the power to issue laws by decree.

Another AKP rebel, former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, is also dismayed by the new system and like Davutoğlu is determined to launch a new political movement by the year’s end.

Babacan’s movement is at the final stages of development after the politician and his top allies held a meeting in Istanbul last weekend, Selvi said.