Duvar English

Future Party leader and former prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) over “using” Hagia Sophia as “political leverage.”

“Stop treating our sacred and common symbols as cards that you can use when you’re stuck,” Davutoğlu said in a weekly meeting on June 8, as he commented on the government’s move to open Hagia Sophia to Muslims for worship.

“Hagia Sophia is not your tool or negotiation card,” he added.

Davutoğlu resigned from the AKP, of which he was among the founders, last year and founded his opposition Future Party in December.

During the meeting, Davutoğlu also commented on stripping three opposition deputies, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers Leyla Güven and Musa Farisoğulları and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Enis Berberoğlu, from their parliamentary statuses on June 6, saying that the government and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) “never cease to fail us in wrongdoings.”

“The government and its ally never cease to fail us taking steps against the people and democracy. We think that they won’t [take the steps], but they do. We think, ‘This can’t get any worse,’ but it does,” he said.

“We said last week that the actual normalization is the normalization of politics. A couple of days later, they arrested these lawmakers in a way that narrows the area and legitimacy of politics and that crushes democracy and justice,” he said, referring to the imprisonment of the said deputies hours after their parliamentary statuses were removed.

While the imprisonment of Güven and Farisoğulları continues, Berberoğlu was released over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to Davutoğlu, the arrests “show that the government has reached a deadlock.”

“They weren’t arrested over a search for justice. They were arrested because the government, which fails to generate politics, is in a deadlock,” he said.