An office rented by former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to be used as the Istanbul headquarters of his new political party was locked and sealed by a local district government of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), according to local news reports on Wednesday.
Four floors of the building rented by Davutoğlu were undergoing restoration, which was shut down by the AKP-led Bahçelievler district government on October 15 on the grounds that it was being carried out without permission.
Davutoğlu was a co-founder of the AKP and a former Erdoğan ally, but the two fell out over disagreements regarding the party’s direction and Davutoğlu was forced out as prime minister in 2016. Davutoğlu since become increasingly critical of his former party, and has been working on establishing his own opposition party, the name of which has not yet been determined.
The AKP moved to expel Davutoğlu and several other former deputies from the party last month, and they pre-empted the move by submitting their resignations beforehand. Davutoğlu published a manifesto earlier this year voicing his criticism of the party, which was the most vocal and open manner in which he has criticized the government since his resignation as prime minister.
“They used this method previously against the [main opposition Republican People’s Party] CHP and the [opposition right-wing Good Party] İP. They wouldn’t give the spaces, or they cancelled the agreements on places that we rented,” said CHP Istanbul city council member Nadir Ataman, in a statement to the daily Sözcü.
“Ahmet Davutoğlu, the former prime minister of the Turkish republic, is unable to rent an office for his party in Istanbul. Wherever he takes a step, he is faced with an obstacle, and the ones blocking his path are his [former] comrades,” Ataman said.
Former Economy Minister Ali Babacan, another AKP co-founder who earned respect internationally for his talents as an economist, is also expected to form an opposition party this year. There has been significant speculation as to whether or not Davutoğlu and Babacan’s parties will be able to take away a major segment of the AKP vote in the next general election in 2023.