Erdogan’s ex-ally Ali Babacan to launch new party this week

Omnia Rizk
2 Min Read

Former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan announced he will establish a new and long-awaited political party on Wednesday, after disagreements with his former ally President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“We will confirm the name of the party during its launch programme on Wednesday,” Babacan said, adding that his supporters would submit an official request to the Ministry of Interior on Monday to establish the party.

The announcement came eight months after Babacan resigned from Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP), where he said last July that he had left due to “deep disagreements” over its direction, and revealed his intentions to establish a new party.

In his first TV interview after resignation from the JDP, Babacan said Turkey is in a “dark tunnel,” warning of the dangers of “one-man rule.”

The emergence of parties led by Erdogan’s allies-turned-opponents coincides with the government’s fight against economic recession and high unemployment in the country, while the ruling JDP lost control of major cities, such as Istanbul and Ankara, in the last year’s municipal elections.

Babacan was a founding member of the JDP and used to work as Minister of Economy and Foreign Affairs, before he acted as Deputy Prime Minister from 2009 to 2015.

Economic hardship in the wake of the currency crisis in 2018 affected Erdogan’s support base, and any erosion of the party’s base, even a few percentage points, would hurt the Justice and Development Party, which has been relying on its alliance with the nationalists to secure the parliamentary majority.

Moreover, ex-PM Ahmet Davutoglu, also Erdogan’s former ally, founded the Future Party last December to compete with the JDP.

Opinion polls conducted before the formation of Davutoglu’s party indicated that it has a popular support of 3.4%, while the Babacan party will enjoy about 8%, according to press reports.

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