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Babacan to announce new party in early 2020

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Former Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan has said he will launch the new political party he has been working to establish in the early days of 2020, the T24 news website reported on Thursday.

“The work has taken longer than we anticipated. The announcement will be delayed until 2020, but we’re talking about a matter of days, not weeks,” Babacan said in an interview with T24’s Şirin Payzın.

“I feel deep sorrow every time I look at the country. We do not deserve this,” he said when asked about the reason for his return to politics. “We need a political overhaul.”

Babacan went on to direct implicit criticism at President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s political style. “‘The 50+1 percent [who voted for me] are my citizens, I embrace only them.’ This is no way to govern,” he said.

He also dismissed Erdoğan’s recent claims that he and a number of other former allies who have recently started work for new political parties have conspired to defraud the state-owned Halkbank.

“The president knows me very well. It is obvious that his remarks were made in a moment of anger. If not, why would he invite me to work with him six months ago?” he said. “I may be exposed to harsher criticism in the future. We are committed to facing every risk. No one can dissuade us.”

Babacan said Turkey’s executive presidential system, which was adopted in a 2017 referendum, “has not brought peace domestically or in foreign relations” and that “it is not working for Turkey.”

“We believe in a strengthened parliamentary system,” he said.

He also said Erdoğan’s Canal İstanbul project, which entails building a waterway between the Marmara and Black seas to provide an alternative to the Bosporus as a maritime transportation route, is a “polarization project” aimed at changing the focus of public debate away from unemployment.

Babacan resigned from Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on July 8 and issued a written statement on Aug. 8 in which he spoke about having started preparations for the establishment of a new party.

The AKP is uneasy with Babacan’s plans to challenge it, and Erdoğan has accused him of abandoning the Islamist cause.

In addition to Babacan, Erdoğan’s Halkbank-related claims also targeted former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who also has started a setting up a new political party, as well as former President Abdullah Gül, with whom Babacan is said to be in close contact.

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