Former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan launched his long-awaited Democracy and Progress Party, with its abbreviation “DEVA” meaning “remedy” in Turkish, in a ceremony that was marked by emphasis on freedoms in Turkey.
“We are here now. It’s time for us to take responsibility for Turkey. The time to heal began for Turkey. It’s time for DEVA,” Babacan said on March 11 in the capital Ankara.
“It breaks our hearts to see that our country keeps losing ground in all areas. The people are worried about their future. The people of this country have been saddened and hurt over the past few years. Everything was taken away from them, but they showed patience,” he also said.
Babacan is a founding member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has ruled Turkey since 2002, served as economy and then foreign minister before becoming deputy prime minister, a role he held from 2009 to 2015. He was well regarded by foreign investors during his time in charge of the economy.
Babacan filed the application to launch DEVA on March 9, eight months after he resigned from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP over “deep differences.”
Citing human rights violations, limitations on freedoms, violence against women, problems in the judiciary, education system, health system and democracy, politics of fear, unemployment and low pension payments among the issues that Turkey needs to solve, Babacan noted that investors can’t see their future in the country.
“We believe that those who don’t practice democracy and participation within their parties can’t contribute to our country’s democracy and future,” he said.
Saying that the party prepared its party bylaws with extensive contributions and via listening to all segments of the society, Babacan noted that DEVA emerged as a response to demands for change and renewal.
“It’s impossible for Turkey to continue keep going with an understanding of politics that can’t renew itself. It’s time for renewal,” Babacan added.
During his address to DEVA members, Babacan said that the party will respect everyone’s life styles, adding that “different identities and ideas are wealth.”
Babacan also put emphasis on honesty, virtue, freedom and security of the society, social justice and a pluralistic democracy based on division of powers.
“Politics is an art of forming a consensus. We are against using an exclusionary language in politics,” he said.
“We won’t make our religious beliefs a tool of daily politics and a means of political propaganda,” Babacan added.
The DEVA leader also promised transparency in all areas of the party.