Former PM calls for overhaul of Turkey in challenge to Erdogan

Ahmet Davutoglu, a former Turkish prime minister, who had served as foreign minister between 2009 and 2014 and later as prime minister until 2016, has established a new political party on Thursday. (File/AP)
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Updated 13 December 2019

Former PM calls for overhaul of Turkey in challenge to Erdogan

  • Davutoglu said Turkey’s judiciary had turned into a mechanism “feared rather than trusted” and that its economy was in “deep crisis”
  • Without naming Erdogan, he sharply criticized the concentration of power around a leader who has ruled Turkey since early 2003

ANKARA: Turkey’s ex-premier Ahmet Davutoglu took aim at his former boss Tayyip Erdogan on Friday, saying the country was being held back by a concentration of power, economic crisis and an atmosphere of fear as he called for an overhaul of the political system.
“Those ruling Turkey have no agenda other than staying in power,” Davutoglu said as he announced his new party, which could further erode support for Erdogan after his ruling AKP suffered election setbacks in local elections earlier this year.
A day after applying to establish the breakaway Future Party, Davutoglu said Turkey’s judiciary had turned into a mechanism “feared rather than trusted” and that its economy was in “deep crisis.”
Davutoglu, 60, announced his resignation from the Islamist-rooted AKP in September, saying the party which has dominated Turkish politics for 17 years was no longer able to solve the country’s problems and was stifling internal debate.
“Despite all the pressure and the atmosphere of fear which they have tried to create...we have come together to set out a democratic and prosperous future for our country,” he said.
Davutoglu served as prime minister from 2014 to 2016, before falling out with the president and being replaced by another Erdogan loyalist as Turkey moved to a presidential system.
Without naming Erdogan, he sharply criticized the concentration of power around a leader who has ruled Turkey since early 2003, first as prime minister and then as president.
“The presidential system was constructed with the thought of transferring as much power as possible to the executive and increasing influence over the legislative and judiciary,” he said.
He said it was essential to fight corruption and guarantee the separation of powers, adding that efforts to control the judiciary must be seen as “the greatest of crimes.”
“We defend a democratic parliamentary system,” he added, calling for a new constitution.
Davutoglu resigned two months after former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan also left the AKP, citing deep differences. Babacan will announce his own rival political party within weeks, a source close to him said.
Polls show support for the new parties and their leaders in single percentage point figures, meaning they could pose little challenge to Erdogan and the AKP on their own.
However, after defeat in mayoral elections in Ankara and Istanbul this year, and with economic difficulties eroding his voter base, any loss of support could hit efforts to extend Erdogan’s rule. Elections are not scheduled until 2023.


Libya’s GNA govt detains 35 Egyptian fishermen

Updated 12 August 2020

Libya’s GNA govt detains 35 Egyptian fishermen

  • The GNA is still holding the fishermen without a clear accusation to justify their detention

CAIRO: The fate of at least 35 Egyptian fishermen hangs in the balance after they were arrested by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) on Nov. 2 last year.  

The families of the fishermen have appealed to the Egyptian government to step up their efforts to secure their freedom as Cairo has been working on their release since November.

Little is known about the fate of the fishermen in Libya other than their location, after it was leaked to Egyptian authorities that they were held in the Turmina Prison, which is affiliated with the GNA.

The head of the Fishermen’s Syndicate in Kafr El-Sheikh, Ahmed Nassar, said they had not been able to communicate with the fishermen since last November and after their disappearance they came to learn that the GNA authorities had detained them.

The GNA is still holding the fishermen without a clear accusation to justify their detention. Nassar said that the fishermen were not fishing in Libyan territory without a permit.

Nassar explained that the fishermen were working on Libyan boats. Alongside them were a number of colleagues working on boats that belong to the Al-Wefaq government. They were not approached by anyone unlike their detained colleagues who were arrested and sent to prison without being charged with any crime.

The Fishermen’s Syndicate chief said that people had called on the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the government, and the consular section had also been contacted about the matter.

Many of the detained fishermen come from Kafr El-Sheikh, while others come from Abu Qir in the governorate of Alexandria.

The fishermen had been supporting families of up to eight members.

Egyptian authorities say they are exerting great efforts to bring the fishermen back safely, while the fishermen’s families continue to demand safety and justice for the men.