'Ministers were signing empty documents that Erdoğan filled later on'

DEVA leader and former prime minister Ali Babacan said that the cabinet of the ruling AKP would sign empty documents for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to fill in as he wished.

Duvar English

The cabinet of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) would ink their signatures on blank decrees to be filled out by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) leader and former prime minister Ali Babacan told TELE1 on Oct. 9.  

Babacan cited "deep divides" between his own values and the AKP's as the reason for his resignation, and has openly criticized the government's conduct ever since. 

"Blank pieces of paper would be signed in the cabinet, and the top would be filled in later. These would then be published in the Official Gazette with President Erdoğan’s signature," Babacan said of his the time surrounding his resignation from the AKP. "So it was really up to one signature." 

All the state of emergency decrees issued following the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016 ran in the same manner, the former deputy PM said, adding that nobody would confess to the practice, but that cabinet members of the time could confirm it off the record. 

Babacan said that he doesn't regret the things he did in the AKP, but rather is having second thoughts about things he believes he should have done.

The former deputy PM had made a vow of silence in 2017, Babacan said of the referendum that brought in the presidential system of government, but now has second thoughts. 

"Now I wonder if it would have been better to break that vow I made to myself in 2017," Babacan said, adding that "Turkey would have been practically governed in the same manner even if the referendum yielded a 'no.'"

Babacan has stressed the importance of returning to a parliamentary system in his speeches about the 2023 elections and often notes that the presidential system has deteriorated freedoms in the country. 

The AKP government will never be able to lower interest rates or inflation, Babacan said, adding that the state first needs "law and justice" to accomplish these fiscal goals.