Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party has unanimously agreed to send former former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutogluto a disciplinary board for dismissal.
The decision on Monday to consider expelling the 60-year-old, along with three other members, came after a meeting of the central executive committee ofJustice and Development (AK) Party, which is chaired by Erdogan.
A leading AK Party figure who also served as a foreign minister, Davutoglu became prime minister in 2014 but fell out with Erdogan in 2016. He was later replaced by Binali Yildirim, who kept the position until Turkey’s parliamentary system was substituted by an executive presidential system last year.
In recent months, Davutoglu has accused the AK Party of deviating from its core principles, hitting out at the government’s economic record and Erdogan himself.
His criticism included the party’s insistence on a rerun of the Istanbul vote after the AK Party lost Turkey’s largest city to the opposition in March local elections, as well as the recent removal of three newly-elected mayors in the east of the country over claims related to “terrorism”.
The AK Party’s hefty defeat in Istanbul, the first in 15 years, came after forcing a June rerun over irregularities following an earlier narrow defeat.
“If we lose an election that we first lost by 13,000 votes again by 800,000 votes, as was the case in Istanbul, the one responsible for this is not a prime minister [Binali Yildirim] who delivered a clear parliamentary majority [in the last general election], but rather those who have caused a serious slide in rhetoric, actions, morals and politics,” Davutoglu said in June.
“Labeling anyone who thinks different from you a terrorist … is a detachment from the public conscience.”
During the Istanbul campaign, Erdogan accused the opposition of having links to “terrorism,” while the opposition focused on everyday issues such as economy.
The party’s move to expel the former prime minister comes as other former allies have fallen out with Erdogan including former President Abdullah Gul and former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan, who were founding AK Party members.
Babacan quit the party in July citing “deep differences” over policy and said Turkey was in need of a “new vision”.
He is expected to launch a new political party, together with Gul and Davutoglu.