The resignation of former Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Economy Ali Babacan from the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), who is likely to form a new party, has heated up Turkish political circles. In charge of a key position in the economy administration until 2015, Babacan's divergence with the AK Party has been known for some time. However, he took a concrete step on Monday, announcing his resignation with a statement and signaling a new political formation.
Speaking to journalists on the way back from the Southeast European Countries Cooperation Process (SEECP) summit Tuesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that despite giving crucial positions to Babacan in the administration in the past and offering him some other posts after he left the economy management, Babacan refused and decided to part ways with the AK Party.
In his resignation letter from the AK Party, Babacan said that there had been serious divergences between the principles he believes in and the AK Party's policies in recent years, adding that the country now has "a new, dynamic generation that has different expectations."
Erdoğan highlighted that some similar things had occurred in the past when some deputies left the AK Party to form splinter parties; "However," he added, "these attempts eventually failed."
"You probably remember some of them; for example, Mr. Erkan [Mumcu], but maybe not all of them. One of them, for instance, is now together with Mr. [Kemal] Kılıçdaroğlu [the CHP leader]. He ardently left the party but his party failed," the president said, implying former Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Şener, who left the AK Party and announced the establishment of a political party in 2009 called Türkiye Partisi (the Turkey Party). Şener closed his party shortly after its founding in 2012 due to its failure to establish its political goals. He later joined the Republican People's Party (CHP).
Stressing that he had disagreements with Babacan on some issues regarding the economy, Erdoğan said he always advised the former deputy PM to keep interest rates low and "the subsequent process proved the rightfulness of his opinion."
"We saw how inflation decreased when we apply low interest rates. It was about 7 percent, when interest rates also stands at about 4.6 percent," Erdoğan stressed, saying that incidents such as the Gezi protests in 2013 caused soaring inflation and interests again. The president also said that he is disappointed in Babacan, former PM Ahmet Davutoğlu, who is also allegedly testing the waters for a new party, and former President Abdullah Gül for their lack of support to the party after their duty was over.
"They didn't express a single positive statement for Mr. Binali [Yıldırım] during the local election process in Istanbul," Erdoğan said, adding that he always refrained from making a negative comment despite their stance.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan is convening the Central Decision and Administrative Board (MKYK) today to make an extensive evaluation of the March 31 local polls and shape of the 2023 road map. In the meeting, detailed surveys and comprehensive reports on Istanbul and other provinces prepared by the deputy chairmen of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will be discussed. After discussions, a new road map will be determined concerning the party's 2023 Vision. Marking the centenary of the Republic of Turkey, the 2023 Vision includes specific targets for a full-fledged improvement of the country's economy via tailor-made energy, health care, transport and infrastructure projects to make Turkey one of the top 10 global economies. With a gross domestic product (GDP) of $850.7 billion in 2017, Turkey is the world's 17th largest economy, while the country ranks 13th in terms of GDP by purchasing power parity (PPP).