AKP members have told President Erdoğan that they are struggling to respond to criticisms directed towards the party, as they commented on the parties of Babacan and Davutoğlu. "We are still at the point that we were at when we founded our party. Those who left are gone. Everyone chose their own destiny," Erdoğan told lawmakers, while criticizing the deputies for acting passive.
Tensions ran high in Turkish parliament on Feb. 18 after a deputy of the ruling AKP referred to the 2013 Gezi Park protests as "vandalism" and "thuggery." The CHP and HDP reacted against these remarks, saying that the government's harsh response against Gezi Park occupiers was in fact what constituted as "vandalism."
Turkey's former President Abdullah Gül has suggested returning to a parliamentary system. "I would prefer a fully democratic parliamentary system," Gül said, while voicing support for Ali Babacan. "I, of course, support him and his party. I trust and think highly of Babacan's character, education, knowledge and wording in politics," Gül said.
Ahmet Davutoğlu, the former prime minister who quit the ruling AKP to form the rival Future Party last year, has announced that he has withdrawn as a plaintiff from all criminal cases involving offenses against him, including the 2013 Gezi Park case. "The purpose of our chairman's decision is that everyone in society lets go of the past and faces the future," said a statement released by the Future Party on Feb. 17.
A Turkish court has banned access to the online version of a cartoon by Leman which makes a reference to Finance Minister Berat Albayrak's land purchase on the route of the controversial Kanal Istanbul project. Leman's Jan. 22-dated cover depicts Bayrak as he stands along the route of the Kanal project and utters his famous phrase of “Here is very important.”
The number of seats of the right-wing opposition İYİ (Good) Party have decreased to 37 from 43 following successive resignations from the party, with the most recent one being the party's Balıkesir lawmaker İsmail Ok. The AKP currently has 290 seats, the CHP has 142, the HDP has 65, the MHP has 49 and the İYİ Party has 37 seats in parliament.
The newly-formed Future Party (FP), established by former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, is currently polling at 3.9 percent, according to surveys conducted by the party. Only 15 percent of people polled said that they had heard of the party. According to party sources, the low figures are likely due to the fact that the party has received practically no coverage from mainstream newspapers and television channels.
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said that the HDP should aim for coming to power in the next elections, as he suggested forming a democracy alliance. "A democracy alliance can be formed with all the political structures that can unite around a program that foresees all freedoms and a democratic society-state structuring within the framework of a new constitution," he said.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been testing Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, who is also President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's son-in-law, for leadership. Albayrak has been carrying out visits across Turkey as part of the test, a source following the AKP closely told Duvar, while an analyst said that Erdoğan may hand AKP leadership over to his son-in-law since he trusts the minister.
In response to the criticism of the army's “failure” to expel the Gülen movement's members, former army chief Hilmi Özkök said being a Gülenist did not “constitute as a crime” during his time. “Can you give a heavy penalty to someone such as 'expelling from the army' if the law considers them not to have committed a crime?” Özkök said during an interview.
A Mardin court has acquitted veteran Kurdish politician Ahmet Türk and Necla Yıldırım of charges that had previously led to their dismissal respectively as Mardin mayor and Mazıdağı district mayor. The investigations against Türk and Yıldırım were launched after they attended a funeral ceremony of a YPG member in 2015.
The HDP decided during a Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting on Feb. 13 not to amend an internal regulation that limits the party executives to two consecutive terms in their positions. Accordingly, 20 current MYK members will not be able to run for a seat in the upcoming party congress set to take place on Feb. 23.
Former AKP deputy Burhan Kuzu will be investigated over the release of Iranian drug lord Naji Sharifi Zindashti from prison. Recent reports showed that Kuzu called prosecutors and judges and told them that Zindashti’s release would be “more beneficial” for Turkish-Iranian relations. Kuzu denied the allegations against him in tweets earlier this week.
As the row over Gülenists' political leg continues between the government and the main opposition, President Erdoğan and CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu sued each other. Kılıçdaroğlu on Feb. 11 said that Erdoğan handed the state to Gülenists, prompting the president to file a lawsuit, demanding 500,000 Turkish Liras as compensation. The move was shortly followed by Kılıçdaroğlu also filing a lawsuit against the president.
An Istanbul court has blocked access to news reports on Finance Minister Berat Albayrak's land purchase on the route of the controversial Kanal Istanbul project, including that of Gazete Duvar.