CORONAVIRUS AND POLITICS

After Premature Birth Amid Turkey’s Coronavirus Frenzy, Babacan’s Party Seeks to Reboot Political Fortunes

Erdogan’s former economy Czar defected with a breakaway party. But his boldest gamble initially became a victim of coronavirus frenzy. He now seeks a recoup with a media blitz.

Abdullah Ayasun
18 min readJun 21, 2020

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Ali Babacan and founding members of the new DEVA Party pose for a photograph during the party’s launch this March. (Photo: social media)

Prologue

After a yearlong, protracted preparation in a quest for the maximum impact for his new party’s launch, former Economy Minister Ali Babacan finally took that decisive final step in March, but to a little effect. His much-anticipated bid initially fell victim to Turkey’s coronavirus frenzy as the country declared a national war against the global pandemic. As a consequence, the DEVA (Democracy and Progress) Party, whose initials invoke the meaning of ‘remedy,’ suffered a premature birth due to ill-chosen timing amid a state of emergency against a fatal enemy, which has so far claimed 4,927 lives across Turkey.

The entire public debate, for the moment, has been consumed by the virus as it emerged as the number one priority of authorities to thwart its deadly contagion and to mitigate its profound impact on the economy amid reopening of most sectors in May…

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Abdullah Ayasun

Boston-based journalist and writer. Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. 2023 WHCA Scholar. On art, culture, politics and everything in between. X: @abyasun