50 MPs from AKP may join opposition, party official claims

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A top member of Turkey’s opposition Gelecek (Future) Party has claimed that 50 lawmakers from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who are uncomfortable with the policies of their party may soon join the ranks of the Gelecek Party, Turkish media reported.

The claim was raised by Gelecek Party Deputy Chairman Selçuk Özdağ during a program on Halk TV on Thursday evening.

Ahmet Davutoğlu, a former heavyweight in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP and a former prime minister, parted ways with the AKP and established the rival Gelecek Party in December 2019. Özdağ is also a former AKP deputy.

Özdağ said some AKP lawmakers were uneasy with the AKP’s economy policies amid growing financial problems faced by the country as well as the revelations of crime boss Sedat Peker, who has been rocking Turkish politics with his claims about shady relations between government actors and the mafia in YouTube videos since early May.

“Many [AKP) deputies and bureaucrats have talked to us over the past six months. They are feeling disappointed with the country’s economic situation … due to claims about [Interior Minister Süleyman] Soylu and [AKP deputy chairman Binali] Yıldırım. Since they see the party can only survive with state support, they have been in more frequent contact with us. … the AKP will experience serious losses,” said Özdağ.

He was referring to allegations Peker made about Soylu’s relationship with the mafia and Yıldırım’s son’s involvement in cocaine trafficking to Turkey.

When asked how many deputies might part ways with the AKP, Özdağ said 50 AKP deputies were in talks with the Gelecek Party and that others were talking to other opposition parties about joining their ranks.

More and more opinion polls show the vote of the AKP, which has been ruling Turkey as a single party government since 2002, on a downward trajectory at around 25 percent, which is far below the amount of support needed to establish a single party government.

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