Nergis Demirkaya / Duvar

Future Party chairman Ahmet Davutoğlu has said that the party will field its own separate presidential candidate in the upcoming elections, amid rumors that opposition parties are contemplating of coalescing behind a joint candidate.

“Future Party will have its own presidential candidate. The candidate will be determined following discussions with our colleagues. This party has not been established to put forward someone as a joint presidential candidate, including me or someone else from outside,” Davutoğlu told reporters during a meeting in the capital Ankara on Sept. 22.

Davutoğlu said that although Future Party is open to cooperation with other parties concerning various issues, it still aims for the rulership on its own. “Our initial aim is to enter the elections on our own, and to become the governing party on our own. We would not be anyone’s attachment, or would not be in a effort to make someone a president or the governing party, but we could talk with everyone depending on the circumstances,” he said.

Davutoğlu said that Future Party will be one of the front-runners of the upcoming election. “I say this in a very assertive way. In one year, Future Party will be one of the dominant parties of Turkey and hopefully will be one of the most powerful candidates for the rulership. Our job is to be the voice of the people. We represent people whose voices have been turned down psychologically,” he said.

Davutoğlu served as prime minister between 2014 and 2016 before falling out with President Recep Erdoğan. On Sept. 13, 2019, he announced his resignation from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), saying that the party was no longer able to solve the country’s problems and no longer allowed internal debate. In December of 2019, he founded the conservative Future Party.

Davutoğlu on Sept. 22 slammed Turkey’s new executive-presidential model which replaced a 95-year-old parliamentary system. Davuvtoğlu said that this new system has been “dismantling” all the public institutions and has been encouraging an “authoritarian regime.” In 2018, Turkey exchanged its parliamentary system for one in which virtually all political power is concentrated in the office of the presidency.

Davutoğlu drew attention to growing authoritarianism in Turkey saying television channels were refusing to give him air-time.

“What kind of a crime did I commit, except being an academic, foreign minister and prime minister! Some of the television stations even abstain from pronouncing my name. Future Party is going through this. When my friends at the party get down, I tell them this: ‘Do not be worried; what we go through today is an indicator that we will be the rulership in the upcoming elections.’ Whichever party has faced a sanction, an oppression in Turkey, they have become the rulership in the first election held afterwards,” he said.

Asked about the oppression journalists and opposition media outlets are facing in Turkey, Davutoğlu said: “No kind of oppression on media is acceptable. The point that media has come to today is shameful. It is free to think in Turkey, but problematic to express it.”