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Davutoğlu files paperwork to establish rival party to Erdoğan’s AKP: report

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with ex-PM Ahmet Davutoğlu

Former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, once a close ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, applied on Thursday to establish a breakaway political party that could erode support for Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Reuters reported.

Davutoğlu, 60, served as prime minister from 2014 to 2016 before falling out with Erdoğan. Earlier this year, he slammed the president and the AKP economic management and accused them of curbing basic liberties and free speech.

A source close to Davutoğlu said the former premier applied to the Interior Ministry on Thursday to form his new party and that he will formally announce it at a news conference in Ankara on Friday. It will be called the Future Party, the source said.

“He will announce his party’s principles and provide information about the founding members,” the source said. “The new party will breathe new life into politics.”

Davutoğlu announced his resignation from the Islamist-rooted AKP in September, saying it was no longer able to solve Turkey’s problems and no longer allowed internal debate. His resignation came two months after former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan resigned from the AKP, citing “deep differences.”

Earlier this year Turkey’s main opposition party handed stinging defeats to Erdogan’s AKP in mayoral elections, taking control of the capital, Ankara, and İstanbul, the country’s commercial hub, after more than two decades. Babacan will also announce his own rival political party within weeks, a source close to Babacan said.

“Efforts to form the party are in the last stages. The final touches are being made to the official documents, and the list of founders is close to being finalized,” the source said.

In his first televised interview since resigning from the AKP, Babacan said last month that Turkey was in a “dark tunnel” and warned of the dangers of “one-man rule.”

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