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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - ANKARA: Turkey’s former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu filed an official application with the Interior Ministry to legally establish his new yet-to-be-named political party on Thursday. A launch meeting was scheduled to be held Friday in Ankara, at which further details will be revealed.
Arab News has learned that insiders expect the party to be called Gelecek Partisi (Future Party) and to use a cinar (plane) tree as its logo. The tree, a senior official from the new party told Arab News, is a symbol of the ancient culture of Anatolia, and represents the party’s desire to reach out to all segments of Turkish society.
Davutoglu’s party is widely expected to take supporters away from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), with several of its founding members themselves former AKP lawmakers. But its council also includes hijab-wearing females, Alevites, Roma, Kurds, and Caucasians. The party will also include an ex-deputy from the pro-Kurdish HDP.
One of the most-prominent members of the new party is Nihal Olcok, the ex-wife of Erdogan’s public relations adviser Erol Olcok, who made headlines recently for her harsh criticism of the country’s political management.
A senior official within Davutoglu’s new party recently claimed that a team of AKP-affiliated officials assigned by Erdogan visited Davutoglu last Thursday in a last-ditch attempt to convince him not to launch his party. Davutoglu rejected the offer and two days later Erdogan accused the party leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan — who is expected to launch his own party very soon — of fraud in connection with the state-run Halkbank, which was accused by US prosecutors of being part of a scheme to help Iran evade US sanctions.
Istanbul Sehir University, founded by Davutoglu, had its assets frozen recently by Halkbank when the university was struggling to repay the loan it took from the bank. The University has 7,000 students, many from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.
Davutoglu issued a written response to Erdogan’s accusations, calling on the president to establish a parliamentary commission to examine the assets of the president and his team, as well as of their relatives.
Davutoglu served as prime minister and chairman of the AKP from 2014 to 2016 before falling out with Erdogan. He resigned from the AKP on September 13, claiming that the party was unable to solve the country’s urgent problems and accusing them of restricting basic liberties, including freedom of speech.
Babacan is reportedly also planning to launch his own breakaway party — which is expected to be of a much more technocratic nature — before the end of the year, but his announcement could be delayed until January 5, because of legal procedures.
In a television interview last month, Babacan cautioned against one-man rule and said Turkey was passing through a “dark tunnel,” and witnessing a range of human-rights violations.
“Our party aims to create a stance that various parts of society agree on,” he also said. “It’s the design of a new Turkey that is realistic and can be put into practice.”
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