Former Turkish prime minister to launch new political party

Former Turkish deputy prime minister Ali Babacan is today expected to launch a new political party. Babacan has cited a

turkey new party

Photo: Umit Bektas/Reuters

Former Turkish deputy prime minister Ali Babacan is today expected to launch a new political party.

Babacan has cited a need for a “fresh start” for Turkey and called for reforms to strengthen the rule of law and democracy. Opposition politicians, human rights groups and the EU have long accused incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of condoning human rights violations, jailing critics of his presidency and tampering with elections.

The combination of Turkey’s economic weakening following the 2018 currency crisis and the influx of migrants from Syria and further abroad (currently standing at more than 3.5 million) have caused support for Erdogan to wane. But while a recent poll shows Erdogan’s job approval rating fell from 48% to 41.1% since October, this does not guarantee that Babacan’s new party—the name of which is expected to be announced today—will garner significant popular support. A survey last month indicated that the new party is expected to bring only a meagre 0.8% of voters into its ranks.

As long as Erdogan continues to portray himself as a strong leader—going head-to-head with the EU on migration and conducting military offensives in Syria—his popular support is unlikely to buckle. Economic maladies are more of a threat to the regime’s survival, particularly in the form of a renewed currency crisis or a global economic downturn.

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