Former deputy PM Babacan applies to launch party

Former deputy PM Babacan applies to launch party

Former deputy PM Babacan applies to launch party

Former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan has announced he will launch his party at a meeting on March 11 in the Turkish capital Ankara, months after he resigned from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

An application for the establishment of the party was submitted to the Interior Ministry on March 9.

The name of the party is believed to be Democracy and Progress Party, with the abbreviation “DEVA.” Deva, in Turkish, means remedy.

“Today’s need is to make Turkey a livable country for its citizens, grounded on universal values reviving fundamental principles of freedoms, democracy and rule of law. It’s not possible to realize this with the current government. It’s impossible to bring prosperity to this country through this political understanding,” Babacan told the private broadcaster Fox TV on March 9.

Babacan was a member of the AKP cabinets between 2002 and 2015. His last position was deputy prime minister responsible of the economy.

A politics of fear is dominating Turkish politics, he said, stressing that this approach stands as the main problem in front of planning the future for a more developed country.

“We will outline our principles on [March 11]. The first chapter is about freedom of the press. In the absence of media freedom, one cannot speak up about the problems. It’s not possible for a country to resolve its problems if it cannot discuss them,” he said.

On a question about how he would conduct his political struggle against his former boss, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Babacan said his focus is on the problems of Turkey and not individuals.

“It’s true that we will be rivals but we are going to be the rival of all political parties. Our target is not only that party and its grassroots. We are launching a mainstream political movement at the center of the politics,” he said.

Babacan has long been associated with former President Abdullah Gül, who has also parted ways with Erdoğan after 2014.

“We have been friends with Abdullah Gül for a very long time. I knew him even before my political career started. It was him who had invited me to politics. He supported us with his ideas and experience during our preparatory work for the party. But our entire brass is from among our friends,” he stated.

Many of the founding members of the party are new names, with at least 30 percent women making it up and 20 percent under the age of 30, Babacan said.

The list includes former AKP ministers Sadullah Ergin and Nihat Ergün, former Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) lawmaker Ramiz Ongun, author Gülay Göktürk, former diplomat Abdurrahman Bilgiç, former AKP lawmakers İdris Şahin and Mehmet Emin Ekmen, military strategist Metin Gürcan, retired four-star general Mehmet Şanver, former treasury undersecretary İbrahim Hakkı Çanakçı and former head of the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) Birol Aydemir.

Mustafa Yeneroğlu, a member of parliament who became independent after resigning from the AKP, is among the founding members.