Former Deputy PM Babacan launches party

Former Deputy PM Babacan launches party

Former Deputy PM Babacan launches party

Turkey’s former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan announced on March 11 the launch of his new political party, the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA).

“We are all a little bit heartbroken. Our children have been martyred. We are saddened because of our country’s constantly losing ground in every area. The violation of human rights and the restrictions on our freedom is creating suffering,” Babacan said during a speech at the opening ceremony of DEVA Party. Deva in Turkish means remedy.

“We will not let these sorrows get bigger. It’s not the time to lose hope. It’s time to take responsibility for Turkey. It’s time for democracy and progress for Turkey. If you are looking for commiseration, we are the remedy,” he said.

Babacan, a founding member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), served as economy and then foreign minister before becoming deputy prime minister, a role he held from 2009 to 2015. He was well regarded by foreign investors during his time in charge of the economy.

He announced his resignation from the AKP on July 8, 2019, citing “differences.”

“Politics for us is freedom for all, especially women, and a good education for our children. It is to provide social justice and build pluralistic democracy, based on the separation of powers and the superiority of law,” he said.

“The fear politics have tired us. The workers are constantly living with the fear of losing their jobs. The discriminatory, alienating politics discourse is making our society tense,” he added.

Babacan said that the party leadership has been limited to 10 years at most. At least 50 percent of the lawmaker candidates will be determined via a primary election, he said.

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.

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.

Erdoğan indirectly slams Babacan’s party

President and AKP chairman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has indirectly slammed the foundation of the new political party by his former economy minister, in his first comment on DEVA Party.

“Those whose cause is not his own country and people are condemned to be defeated,” Erdoğan said, without naming Babacan or his party.

“These so-called new formations do just confirm the need for the AK Party and nothing else,” he added, also referring to the Future Party created by former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, three months before Babacan disclosed his party.

“None of them are our concerns,” he said.