Speculation about new competition for the AKP

According to Turkish media three former allies of Turkey's President Erdoğan plan to found two new centre-right parties after the local elections on 31 March: the former prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and ex-president Abdullah Gül together with ex-economics minister Ali Babacan. Just a day ago the talk was of all three men forming a party together. Do these plans pose a threat to the ruling AKP?

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T24 (TR) /

New parties won't change a thing

The prospect of new parties elicits little enthusiasm from the liberal website T24:

“Because political parties that are founded without a social base, without honouring some social demand, remain nothing more than a club of ideas. ... Davutoğlu is more strictly Islamist than Erdoğan. The political direction of Abdullah Gül and Ali Babacan will be founded on an Islamist basis but may be more democratic than Erdoğan's. Is that what people in Turkey need now? Do you think that the people in Turkey who regard themselves as nationalist-conservative and Islamist in orientation are burning for 'a democratic Turkey'? Erdoğan and his AKP already represent the people who Davutoğlu-Gül-Babacan want to represent.”

Yetkin Report (TR) /

Davutoğlu is just a bolster for Erdoğan

In his blog Yetkin Report, journalist Murat Yetkin says he doesn't believe ex-prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu really wants to compete against President Erdoğan:

“Unlike Gül, Davutoğlu positioned himself at Erdoğan's side at every opportunity even after he was removed [from his post as prime minister by Erdoğan in 2016], and Erdoğan frequently appeared with him in photographs. ... Those with an active political memory will ask, not without reason, whether Davutoğlu isn't being brought in once more simply to stand in Gül's way. ... Is it Erdoğan who is hoping to win through Davutoğlu's candidacy again? ... Davutoğlu again! These are the questions. The picture is clear. You just have to join the dots.”

Star (TR) /

Betraying your own ideals

The pro-government daily Star is outraged:

“Leaving a party is not treason. Not even when you leave it to found another. But when you leave it because you were stripped of your post or because you weren't given a new one, when you rail against your leader and do your best to ensure that your old party loses, then you are a traitor. ... This is above all a betrayal of your own ideals. ... If you really are as sincere, principled and honest as you maintain, why did you not voice your opposition to Erdoğan when he honoured you with the highest state post? You are disgusting! Why don't you leave us in peace!”

Cumhuriyet (TR) /

Erdoğan wants to force party's premature birth

Although nothing is official the rumours are making Erdoğan nervous, Cumhuriyet notes:

“On Tuesday evening Erdoğan declared that 'it's impossible to cooperate any longer with these turncoats', meaning that there is no longer a place in the AKP for followers of Gül and Davutoğlu. The party had been discussing whether they exerted a balancing effect on the AKP or whether they should go their own way. With his speech Erdoğan has destroyed the first option. ... It seems Erdoğan wants to force Davutoğlu's party to be born preterm. ... The new organisation can't run for seats in the local elections on 31 March, and no other elections are on the cards in the next four years. So one wonders, what chance does the new formation have?”