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Turkey’s AKP Seeks to Revoke Party Membership of Former PM

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) is considering revoking the membership of former prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and three ex-parliamentarians. As a first step, the AKP, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has referred them to a disciplinary committee. Along with other AKP members, Davutoğlu, a former party leader, expressed dissatisfaction with the way it ran its recent municipal election campaigns. While maintaining its strength in rural areas and winning a collective majority of votes nationwide, the AKP lost control of both Istanbul and the capital city of Ankara. The outcome in Istanbul was close enough for the party to appeal and successfully seek a revote, although the second time around, its loss was decidedly wider. Political observers in Turkey say the relationship between Erdogan and Davutoğlu has been on a downward spiral for several years, starting with a clash over their individual preferences for party candidates in national elections. Since ascending to the presidency, Erdogan is viewed as having consolidated power to the point where democracy in the country is under threat.