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Office rented by Davutoğlu for his new party closed off by AKP municipality

An office in İstanbul’s Bahçelievler district rented by former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who is preparing to establish a rival party to his former Justice and Development Party (AKP), has been closed off by the Bahçelievler Municipality, the Sözcü daily reported.

Davutoğlu resigned from the ruling AKP in September after party management moved to expel him for public criticism. A number of former AKP deputies and branch executives working with Davutoğlu also resigned to take part in the new political party Davutoğlu plans to establish.

The former prime minister, who is expected to make public the establishment of the new party in November, rented an office in a shopping mall in Bahçelievler, which would be used as the İstanbul district branch of his party. However, the office was closed off and entry prohibited by the AKP-run Bahçelievler Municipality on Oct.15 on the allegation that illegal renovations were taking place inside the office.

The incident has been raised by Nadir Ataman, a member of the İstanbul City Council from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). Ataman said there would be no buildings left in Bahçelievler as many could be closed off for the same reason. He also said it is nothing but obstruction of democracy to close off the office of a political party by using state power.

Davutoğlu reportedly had to abandon that office following the municipality’s move and has begun to look for new office space.

Davutoğlu became prime minister when Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected president in 2014 but was later sidelined and resigned from office in 2016. After the AKP suffered a string of defeats in local elections in March of this year, Davutoğlu became a vocal critic of the party and published a long manifesto on Facebook.

In his manifesto Davutoğlu slammed the party’s economic policies, media restrictions and the damage he said it had done to the separation of powers and to Turkey’s institutions.

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