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Turkish ex-minister to launch rival political party by year-end

Published: Updated:

Turkey’s former economy minister Ali Babacan, who left the ruling party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July, said on Tuesday he is seeking to launch his new political party by the end of the year.

A founding member of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), Babacan resigned last summer over “deep differences”, saying that Turkey was in need of a new vision.

He was seen as a reliable figure for Turkey’s economic stability as economy minister from 2002 and 2007, and went on to serve as foreign minister and deputy prime minister.

“The calendar (for a new party) is the end of the year,” the 52-year-old politician told Haberturk television on Tuesday.

He said his new party, which did not yet have a name, would appeal to a wide cross-section of the population.

“It will be a mainstream political movement,” he said.

Turkish media has long speculated that former president Abdullah Gul, co-founder of the AKP, could be part of Babacan’s new party.

Babacan said he shared “similar concerns” with Gul and their vision for the future of Turkey overlapped, but he made clear that Gul would not be in his movement.

“He is supporting us from outside, with his knowledge and experience... but we are making the final decisions,” Babacan said.

Asked if former AKP ministers including ex-justice minister Sadullah Ergin would be in his new party,

Babacan said he was working “very closely” with them, but added that the party would not be dominated by ex-AKP figures.

Former prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu is also planning to set up a new political party after he fell out with Erdogan’s AKP.

Babacan said Davutoglu had offered to join forces with him but he did not accept.

The splits from the AKP began after the party lost the control of Turkey’s biggest cities Istanbul and Ankara in the March local elections.