Turkey's ex-PM leaves Erdogan's party amid divisions within AKP


Turkey's former-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Friday announced he would resign from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), saying it had moved away from its "founding values."

Davutoglu, who was prime minister and AKP chair between 2014 and 2016, said it was a "historical responsibility" to build a "new political movement and embark on a new path."

He said he was no longer possible to work under the current "clique" that controls the party, which he said called any criticism from within the ranks "treason."

His resignation seems to have preempted an appearance before a disciplinary board for his expulsion from the party.

Growing defections

Davutoglu is the second key AKP figure to have recently resigned. Former-Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Ali Babacan left the party in July. Babacan has also announced plans for a new party.

Three other AKP members who were also apparently slated for dismissal accompanied Davutoglu in his Friday resignation. They are Selcuk Ozdag, Abdullah Basci, and Ayhan Sefer Ustun.

Divisions within the AKP have grown in recent months, with a number of members disconcerted by a crackdown on Erdogan's political opponents since a failed coup in 2016.

Davutoglu himself has recently been critical of the path the party has taken, particularly after it decided to annul the results of Istanbul's mayoral election after it was won by the opposition.

The move backfired, as the opposition went on to win the rerun of the vote by an even wider margin.

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