Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu resigned Friday from Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) after being referred to the party's disciplinary committee for his dismissal.
In a press conference held in capital Ankara, Davutoğlu said he submitted his resignation to "save the AK Party supporters from the sadness of seeing their chairman get expelled from the party."
The AK Party's central committee referred Davutoğlu, former AK Party lawmakers Ayhan Sefer Üstün, Selçuk Özdağ and Abdullah Başçı to the disciplinary committee on Sept. 2 to be discharged from the party. Those three names also resigned Friday, in addition to former deputies Feramuz Üstün and Ibrahim Turhan, former AK Party Istanbul Provincial Chairman Selim Temurci and former Ankara Provincial Chairman Nedim Yamalı, hours after reports claimed that the party was also seeking disciplinary procedures against them.
The former prime minister accused the AK Party administration of moving away from the party's founding principles while citing his efforts for constructive criticism within the party to prevent a possible split.
Davutoğlu, who resigned from party leadership in May 2016 after a growing rift with the party organization, issued an open criticism in the wake of the March 31 local elections. He is outspoken about the government in his recent interviews, criticizing some aspects of the presidential system and hoped to convince some AK Party figures to jump ship.
"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," Davutoğlu said, hinting at the establishment of a long-rumored a new party.
The 60-year-old served as prime minister and AK Party chairman between August 2014 and May 2016. Serving as then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's foreign policy adviser between 2002 and 2009, Davutoğlu was named foreign minister between May 2009 and August 2014. He also served as an AK Party deputy from Konya for three terms between June 2011 and July 2018.
Previously on July 8, former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, another dissident figure seeking a new party, resigned from the AK Party.
In a recent interview, Babacan said that his movement, apparently distancing itself from Davutoğlu, aims to establish a new party before 2020.