A former premier and ex-ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a new party yesterday, saying it would stand against “cult of the leader” politics.
Ahmet Davutoglu, who served as prime minister between 2014 to 2016 and chairman of Erdogan’s ruling party, formally presented the Future Party (“Gelecek Partisi” in Turkish) at a ceremony in Ankara.
“As a party, we reject a style of politics where there is a cult of the leader and passive personnel,” Davutoglu said, standing beneath a large banner featuring the revered founder of the Turkish republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Davutoglu, 60, did not mention Erdogan by name during his nearly one hour speech, but criticised the sweeping powers given to the presidency under constitutional changes last year.
“It won’t be possible to have a democratic society with the system continuing like this,” said Davutoglu, who resigned from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in September.
Analysts say Davutoglu is seeking to peel away conservative Muslim voters from the ruling AKP, and while few expect him to attract more than a fraction of the electorate, it could be enough to cause problems for Erdogan.