Former AKP minister speeds up efforts to establish new party, says columnist

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Former Economy Minister Ali Babacan.

Turkish columnist Deniz Zeyrek on Monday claimed that former Turkish economy minister and Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Ali Babacan has sped up efforts to establish a new political party, the Artı Gerçek news website reported.

Appearing on Turkish Fox TV, Zeyrek said it was no longer a rumor but a fact that Babacan was busy with the new party in Ankara while the country had been focusing on a repeat mayoral election in İstanbul.

Former President Abdullah Gül will become honorary chair of the new party, giving full support to Babacan, according to Zeyrek.

Since leaving office Gül has been expected to launch a new political movement opposing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

After his resignation, former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was also engaged in efforts to establish a new party, the Turkish media reported. In May, Davutoğlu held a press conference in Diyarbakır, a predominantly Kurdish city, signaling the new party.

Zeyrek said Gül and Davutoğlu are not on the same page politically.

Babacan, 52, a Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) alumni, was left out of the Turkish cabinet in 2015 after 13 years of service in various ministry offices.

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