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Former Turkish PM Davutoğlu’s new party to be established within weeks: report

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Former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who was once President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s closest ally but who broke away from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in September, will form a new party within weeks, Reuters reported, citing a source close to the matter.

Davutoğlu, 60, served as prime minister between 2014 and 2016 before falling out with Erdoğan. This year, he slammed the president and the AKP’s economic management and accused them of curbing basic liberties and free speech.

“The new party that Davutoğlu is forming is expected to file its application with the Interior Ministry and be officially established within a few weeks,” the source, who was involved in the party’s foundation, told Reuters.

“The final touches are being made to the new party. It will not be delayed into 2020. Buildings have been rented, a headquarters in Ankara and a provincial center in İstanbul,” the source added.

On Sept. 13 Davutoğlu announced his resignation from the Islamist-rooted AKP, which has ruled Turkey since 2002. He said at the time it was no longer able to solve the country’s problems and no longer allowed internal debate.

The source said some former political figures and senior public sector officials would take up roles in Davutoğlu’s party.

Separately, former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, who resigned from the AKP in July citing “deep differences,” said this week he hoped to have formed a new political party by the end of the year to challenge the ruling party.

Babacan was a founding member of the AKP and served as economy and then foreign minister before becoming deputy prime minister, a role he held from 2009 to 2015.

But the source played down any prospects of Davutoğlu and Babacan working together.

“The scope for acting together within Babacan’s party has narrowed because the two sides are taking their own line,” the source said, adding: “Of course there would have been many benefits in forming a joint party, but the will for this did not emerge.”

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