AKP’s sidelined prominent names to form new political party - columnist

Prominent members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), all sidelined by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, joined forces and are busy with the groundwork to begin an alternative conservative political party, columnist Ahmet Takan said in right-wing Yeniçağ newspaper on Saturday. 

According to Takan, former President Abdullah Gül, former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, and, former deputy prime ministers in charge of the economy, Ali Babacan and Mehmet Şimşek, who seem to have disappeared from the political stage after the presidential election on June 24, have been running consultations to realise their plan to establish a political party.

“Ahmet Davutoğlu, Ali Babacan, Mehmet Şimşek, they have rolled up their sleeves to form a new centre party. They are not in a hurry,” Takan wrote in his column. The new political party is set to be established after the local elections in Turkey to be held in March 2019, he added. 

The three names have been telling their contacts that former President Gül is not a part of this initiative, Taken said, noting that such a situation is highly unlikely.

Gül, who served as the 11th President of Turkey who served until 2014, was named as a possible opposition umbrella candidate to stand against Erdoğan in the presidential election. He withdrew his candidacy, citing the lack of a broad consensus among opposition parties, after he was visited by the country’s chief of staff and a key presidential official. 

Davutoğlu and Babacan, who have also fallen out with the strongman of Turkey, were last seen on holiday with their wives, while President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was hosting thousands of people at the palace for his presidential system-launching inauguration. 

Long-time Turkish minister and deputy prime minister Mehmet Şimşek  has returned to working part-time in the world of finance in London, while President Erdoğan handed over the reins of Turkish economy to his son-in-law Berat Albayrak, the new Minister of Treasury and Finance.