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Former Turkish PM Davutoglu to launch new political party in another challenge to Erdogan's AKP

Davutoglu is a former Prime Minister and founding member of the ruling AKP. [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 September, 2019

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Davutoglu's announcement is the second such challenge to the AKP after former ally Ali Babacan also announced that he would be founding his own party earlier this week.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces yet another challenge from a previous ally as his former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said he would launch a "new political movement" to challenge the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The move comes days after the former Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan announced his own plans to set up a party to rival the AKP.

Read also: Turkey releases five opposition journalists from jail

"It is our historical responsibility and duty to the nation... to set up a new political movement," Davutoglu told reporters in Ankara.

Davutoglu was the Prime Minister and chairman of the AKP between 2014 and 2016 until he fell out with Erdogan and was forced out. He resigned from the party earlier this month, reportedly just before he was unanimously dismissed from the party.

A leading figure and founding member of the AKP, Davutoglu accused the party of veering away from its core principles.

There have been rumours in the past that he would establish his own party, and his disapproval of the AKP’s trajectory earlier this year was a signal of his intent.

His criticism included the party's insistence on a repeat of the mayor of Istanbul's election after the AKP lost the city to the opposition in March, as well as the removal of three mayors in eastern Turkey on terror-related claims. 

The Turkish government's crackdown in the wake of the 2016 failed coup attempt has led to instability and disquiet in the country.

Erdogan accuses US based cleric Fethullah Gulen of being the chief instigator, and thousands of military officials, academics, journalists and politicians detained or jailed in country wide attempt to root out his supporters.  

An economic recession, worries over the independence of the Turkish judiciary, and populist antipathy towards the three million plus Syrian refugees in Turkey have seen the AKP lose popularity in recent months.

Turkey's next nationwide elections will be held in 2023.

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