Former PM Davutoğlu establishes headquarters for new party in Turkey's capital

Turkey's former prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, has established headquarters in Ankara for a new party, news site Gazete Duvar reported on Friday.

Davutoğlu became prime minister when Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected president in 2014, but was later sidelined and resigned from office in 2016.

After the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) suffered a string of defeats in local elections in March this year, Davutoğlu returned to the spotlight with vocal criticism of the party in a long manifesto published on Facebook in April.

Reports in Turkish media since then have fueled speculation that Davutoğlu is set to launch a new political party.

A senior figure working with Davutoğlu last week told Ahval that the new party was ready to launch in 70 of Turkey's 81 provinces.

Meanwhile, another AKP heavyweight, former deputy prime minister in charge of the economy Ali Babacan, in July confirmed his plans for the formation of a new political movement when he announced his resignation from the ruling party.

Turkey transitioned from a parliamentary to an executive presidential system after national elections in June 2018. With the required vote for the country’s top position raised to 50 percent plus one under the new system, new political parties could play a prominent role in the outcome of the next presidential elections in 2023.