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New Turkish political party in works as economy czar quits AKP

Turkey’s former economy chief, Ali Babacan, quit the ruling party last week in the first overt move toward creating a new rival party.
Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan speaks during a news conference during the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Istanbul February 9, 2015. Turkey prefers to set specific national investment targets as part of efforts to boost economic growth but it is not clear if all G20 member nations are willing to sign up to hard numbers, Babacan said on Monday. REUTERS/Murad Sezer (TURKEY  - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS) - GM1EB291GYW01

In his long political career, Abdullah Gul, Turkey’s former president and co-founder of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), has been widely perceived — deservedly or not — as a politician averse to taking risks. Beyond any perceptions and opinions, however, the fact today is that Gul has assumed the role of a “guide” in a long-rumored plan to set up a new party that threatens to split the AKP. In the first tangible indication of a breakup, Ali Babacan, the AKP’s former economic czar, quit the party July 8.

In his resignation, Babacan — who served in several AKP governments under the now-defunct parliamentary system, most recently as deputy premier in charge of the economy — said that he had grown “mentally and emotionally estranged” from his party and that Turkey needed “a brand new vision for the future.” In two brief sentences heralding the new party, he said, “It has become inevitable to start a new effort for Turkey’s present and future. Many of my colleagues and I feel a great and historic responsibility toward this effort.”

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