Breakaway former Turkish PM to form new party within weeks

Davutoglu, 60, served as prime minister between 2014 and 2016 before falling out with Erdogan. (File/AFP)
Updated 29 November 2019

Breakaway former Turkish PM to form new party within weeks

  • On Sept. 13, Davutoglu announced his resignation from the AKP, which has ruled Turkey since 2002
  • The source said some former political figures and some senior public sector officials would take up roles in Davutoglu’s party

ANKARA: Former Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who was once President Tayyip Erdogan’s closest ally but who broke away from the ruling AK Party in September, will form a new party within weeks, a source close to the matter said on Friday.
Davutoglu, 60, served as prime minister between 2014 and 2016 before falling out with Erdogan. This year, he slammed the president and the AK Party’s (AKP) economic management, and accused them of curbing basic liberties and free speech.
“The new party which Davutoglu is forming is expected to file its application to the interior ministry and be officially established within a few weeks,” the source, who was involved in the party’s foundation, told Reuters.
“The final touches are being made to the new party. It will not be delayed into 2020. Buildings have been rented, a headquarters in Ankara and a provincial center in Istanbul,” the source added.
On Sept. 13, Davutoglu announced his resignation from the Islamist-rooted AKP, which has ruled Turkey since 2002. He said at the time it was no longer able to solve the country’s problems and no longer allowed internal debate.
The source said some former political figures and some senior public sector officials would take up roles in Davutoglu’s party.
Separately, former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan, who resigned from the AKP in July citing “deep differences,” said this week he hoped to have formed a new political party by the end of the year to challenge the ruling party.
Babacan was a founding member of AKP and served as economy and then foreign minister before becoming deputy prime minister, a role he held from 2009 to 2015.
But the source played down any prospects of Davutoglu and Babacan working together.
“The scope for acting together within Babacan’s party has narrowed because the two sides are taking their own line,” the source said, adding: “Of course there would have been many benefits in forming a joint party, but the will for this did not emerge.”


German defense minister rejects Turkey complaint over Libya weapons ship search

Updated 24 November 2020

German defense minister rejects Turkey complaint over Libya weapons ship search

  • Germany insists it acted correctly in boarding a Turkish ship to enforce arms embargo of Libya
  • Turkey summoned European diplomats to complain at the operation

BERLIN: Germany’s defense minister on Tuesday rejected Turkey’s complaints over the search of a Turkish freighter in the Mediterranean Sea by a German frigate participating in a European mission, insisting that German sailors acted correctly.
Sunday’s incident prompted Turkey to summon diplomats representing the European Union, Germany and Italy and assert that the Libya-bound freighter Rosaline-A was subjected to an “illegal” search by personnel from the German frigate Hamburg. The German ship is part of the European Union’s Irini naval mission, which is enforcing an arms embargo against Libya.
German officials say that the order to board the ship came from Irini’s headquarters in Rome and that Turkey protested while the team was on board. The search was then ended.
Turkey says the search was “unauthorized and conducted by force.”
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer backed the German crew’s actions.
“It is important to me to make really clear that the Bundeswehr soldiers behaved completely correctly,” she said during an appearance in Berlin. “They did what is asked of them in the framework of the European Irini mandate.”
“That there is this debate with the Turkish side points to one of the fundamental problems of this European mission,” Kramp-Karrenbauer added, without elaborating. “But it is very important to me to say clearly here that there are no grounds for these accusations that are now being made against the soldiers.”
This was the second incident between Turkey and naval forces from a NATO ally enforcing an arms blockade against Libya.
In June, NATO launched an investigation over an incident between Turkish warships and a French naval vessel in the Mediterranean, after France said one of its frigates was “lit up” three times by Turkish naval targeting radar when it tried to approach a Turkish civilian ship suspected of involvement in arms trafficking.
Turkey supports a UN-backed government in Tripoli against rival forces based in the country’s east. It has complained that the EU naval operation focuses its efforts too much on the Tripoli administration and turns a blind eye to weapons sent to the eastern-based forces.
In Ankara, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Irini was “flawed from the onset.”
“It is not based on firm international legal foundations,” Akar said. He renewed Turkey’s criticism of the German ship’s actions.
“The incident was against international laws and practices. It was wrong,” he said.
Kramp-Karrenbauer stressed that “Turkey is still an important partner for us in NATO.” Turkey being outside the military alliance would make the situation even more difficult, she argued, and Turkish soldiers are “absolutely reliable partners” in NATO missions.
But she conceded that Turkey poses “a big challenge” because of how its domestic politics have developed and because it has its “own agenda, which is difficult to reconcile with European questions in particular.”