Turkey’s former prime minister and the current chair of the newly-founded Future Party (FP), Ahmet Davutoğlu, has withdrawn as a plaintiff from all cases involving offenses against him, including the 2013 Gezi Park case.
The announcement was made by the FP’s vice president Ayhan Sefer Üstün in a written statement on Feb. 17 — a day before the sixth hearing of the Gezi Park case.
“Ahmet Davutoğlu has withdrawn from all criminal cases concerning offenses committed against him which do not have a public nature, with the wish that they do not repeat themselves,” Üstün said.
“Turkey is going through a period in which the judiciary has become politicized and the judiciary independence and objectivity has suffered. Our country got exhausted with discussions on judiciary and became polarized. It is a must that a new era starts and old discussions are left behind. For this, everyone needs to take a step,” Üstün said.
“The purpose of our chairman’s decision is that everyone in society lets go of the past and faces the future. Hereby we, as the Future Party, once again reiterate our call for independent and objective judiciary for freedom of thought, discussion culture and coexistence [to prevail].”
The FP vice president however also said that there were exceptions regarding the withdrawals. Davutoğlu will not withdraw from cases concerning the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Gülen movement, which Turkish authorities refer to as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), the ISIS and the “Pelican group,” a group of figures who are said to be manipulating the media in the favor of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The Pelicans are believed to have played a factor in pushing Davutoğlu out of his prime minister position as the group’s increasing influence on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is said to have distanced many important AKP figures, including Davutoğlu and former president Abdullah Gül, from him.
Davutoğlu’s withdrawal move came after rights activists and representatives of NGOs last week urged him and another former AKP breakaway politician, Ali Babacan, to withdraw their complaints against the accused in the 2013 Gezi Park case.
Davutoğlu, then foreign minister, and Babacan, then deputy prime minister in charge of the economy, are among the 746 complainants in the case.
Served as foreign minister and then prime minister until 2016, Davutoğlu was once a close adviser to Erdoğan. He resigned from the AKP in September in attempt to found his own political movement.
Sources close to Davutoğlu and Babacan had previously said that it was the prosecutor’s office that had launched the Gezi Park case and the former AKP breakaway politicians had not personally demanded to be included as plaintiffs in the case.