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Erdogan blasts former friends as traitors while word of new rival spreads

As Turkey's municipal elections approach, rumors are flying that former allies of the president will form a rival party.
Turkey's then-Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (R) and then-Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu greet their supporters as they leave Friday prayers in Ankara, Turkey, August 22, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo - D1AETCCKOAAA

Rumors that former allies of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are poised to launch at least one rival party are continuing to stir debate in the run-up to nationwide municipal elections due to be held on March 31.

Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is the name that pops up with the most frequency as the leader of a new alliance that will purportedly assemble pious conservatives, liberals and disgruntled members of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP). Former President Abdullah Gul and two former economy ministers, Ali Babacan and Mehmet Simsek, are said to be mulling a party of their own. There’s another rumor that all of the above will join hands against their former boss. A well-informed source told Al-Monitor, “Davutoglu is the most enthusiastic of the lot and believes that once he forms a party, the others will join him.” Gul allegedly favors a new party led by Babacan, a well respected figure in international circles who remains untainted by corruption, rather than lead one himself. “Davutoglu wants to be the leader himself, though,” said the source, who spoke on condition that he not be identified.

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