Former Erdogan ally to form rival party before year-end

Former Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan will form a new political party before the end of the year to challenge President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party, announcing his intentions in a newspaper interview published on Tuesday.

Babacan resigned from the AK Party in July, citing “deep differences.” He had been a founding member of AK Party, and served as economy and foreign minister during its first years in power before becoming deputy prime minister, a role he held from 2009 to 2015.

Babacan told the Karar newspaper that he was still working to find like-minded individuals to forge a team to lead the new party.

“This will take some time,” he told the newspaper. “We want the party to be formed before 2020. The quality is very important here,”

Erdogan’s AK Party suffered a stinging electoral defeat in Istanbul mayoral elections in June, and a party led by Babacan could further erode Erdogan’s support base.

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