Babacan says he 'always' opposed to using religion in politics

Former deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said that he never used religious terminology in his political career, majority of which he spent with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Babacan also said that his recently-formed Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) didn't identify with labels like "left, right, liberal, conservative."

Duvar English

Former deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said on news broadcaster Habertürk that he "never used religious terminology," maintaining that he avoided such rhetoric even during his time in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

"Look at my speeches starting in 2001 when I started doing politics, I never used religious terminology," Babacan said. "I am completely opposed to using the holiness of our religion in politics."

The former AKP official added that his recently-founded Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) refused to identify with common political qualifications on July 23.

"We don't use terminology like 'right,' 'left,' 'liberal,' and 'conservative.' We don't consider what ideology our members adhered to before," Babacan said.

Noting that his party's made up of people from a wide range of backgrounds, the former minister said that they wanted their provincial boards to be made up of citizens who had no prior political experience.

Meanwhile, Babacan said that different views emerged out of DEVA about the opening of Hagia Sophia to Muslim prayer, although he said simply said that he hoped it would be good for everyone.

The former minister also said that he didn't receive an invitation to the mass prayer on July 24, but that he would have attended if he had received one.

The minister said that opening Hagia Sophia to worship was never mentioned during his time in office, but that he believes it's being considered to divert from "larger problems," noting the shrink in Turkey's workforce.

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'HDP is a legitimate party'

The former minister said that Turkey currently had a very strong propaganda mechanism similar to those in autocratic governments around the world.

"When you look at autocratic regimes in the world, there's a strong propaganda mechanism. There's a strong propaganda mechanism in Turkey right now," Babacan said.

The chairman also said that the party wouldn't consider any coalitions in the coming elections, scheduled for 2023.

"We're busy building our political identity. If we considered coalitions so early on, we wouldn't form our unique identity," Babacan said.

The former AKP official also said that the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) was a legitimate political party in Turkey, and that the government was in a constant effort to wear away at their legitimacy.

'Can you say these people deserve violence?'

Babacan also noted that the Istanbul Convention was a legitimate international treaty acknowledged by the European Council, which Turkey is a part of.

Officially the "Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence," the 2011 document is a key part of legislation that protects women and children against domestic violence.

Higher-up AKP officials have signaled a recusel from the convention in recent weeks, causing tension both within the party and nationwide.

"It was suspended for five years until 2016. And now we're questioning what's in it and what's not. What's in there that could be wrong? It's all about protecting women," Babacan said.

The chairman said that nobody's lifestyle justified them being subject to violence, unlike what some people have suggested after the murder of 27-year-old Pınar Gültekin.

"There's no 'but's here. They can have any lifestyle they want. Reverse that statement, does that mean they deserve violence because of their lifestyle?"

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