Former Erdogan ally establishes new party in Turkey

A new contender will join Turkey’s political landscape Friday morning, when former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu takes the stage at Ankara’s Bilkent Hotel to establish a breakaway conservative party.

Named Gelecek Partisi, or Future Party, Davutoglu will be joined by a group of to-be-disclosed founding members to announce his manifesto, which is expected to target center-right swing voters seeking an alternative to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

According to Future Party spokesperson Abdullah Adabas, Davutoglu will outline his party policies Friday in preparation for elections currently scheduled for 2023. Rumors have been circulating over the party’s formation since September, when Davutoglu resigned from the AKP, with which he served as minister of foreign affairs and then prime minister from 2014 to 2016 before falling out with Erdogan.

The former premier has criticized AKP policies in recent months and took formal steps Thursday in submitting his party application to the Interior Ministry. Along with former Economy Minister Ali Babacan, who is also expected to form a new party in the coming weeks, Davutoglu may draw votes away from the traditional AKP electorate, but will face an uphill climb in becoming a significant threat to Erdogan’s hold on power, according to political observers.

“The main criticism leveled against [Davutoglu] is he had turned a blind eye to the democratic backsliding that happened in the country partly under his watch,” Berk Esen, an assistant professor at Ankara’s Bilkent University, told Al-Monitor. “The fact that now he’s challenging Erdogan, it seems for many people disingenuous.”

Read the full story on Al Monitor.