Former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s announcement to quit the AKP can split the ruling party’s constituency and create unnecessary factionalism within the Turkish ruling elite.
Davutoglu resigned from the AKP today (September 13) after the party's central committee referred Davutoglu and former AK Party lawmakers Ayhan Sefer Üstün, Selçuk Özdağ and Abdullah Başçı to the disciplinary committee.
Over the last couple of years Davutoglu has been critical of AKP policies saying the party was moving away from its founding principles and objectives.
Hinting at the establishment of a long-rumored new political party, Daily Sabah reported Davutoglu as saying, “building a new political movement and departing for a new road is both a historic responsibility for us and a requirement of our obligation to our nation.”
It appears that factionalism is now the political reality for Turkey’s ruling elite, as in July former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan also announced his intentions of forming his own political party.
Crescent International spoke to an informed insider in Turkey who stated that Davutoglu’s political future as a challenger to the AKP and Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan does not look promising, as his tensions with the AKP are more due to personal grudges than real policy differences.
Our source in Turkey is of the opinion that the Turkish people who oppose the AKP hold Davutoglu equally responsible for the party’s mistakes as he played a key role in it and only began speaking out once President Erdogan sidelined him.
Crescent International was also told that one of the reasons Davutoglu was sidelined is because of his half-hearted support for the crackdown against the Fetullah Gulen cult that was economically influential among Turkey’s business class.
Davutoglu’s resignation might also create a split within the more secular constituency of Turkish voters as many conservative, but more pro-secular Turkish voters might see Davutoglu as a balance between Turkey’s Muslim conservatism and a strong presence of secularism among many Turks.
Overall, AKP’s political dominance over Turkey’s political life seems to wavering as seen by the Republican People’s Party candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu’s defeat of former Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım of the AKP during Istanbul’s mayoral elections.
The AKP, however, cannot be easily written off as it has been in power for a long-time and has managed to establish a strong socio-political brand among Turkey’s religious population.
Many Turks and Muslims abroad still believe that AKP is an Islamic oriented party that aims to solidify Islam within the Turkish society and government.