Turkish opposition leader Davutoğlu calls Erdoğan to TV debate

Former Turkish Prime Minister and leader of opposition Future Party, Ahmet Davutoğu, has invited former ally and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to a debate on television,Duvar news site reported on Sunday.

If Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is looking to debate with the new opposition Future Party, the latter is ready to do, Davutoğlu said. 

"This is our call, let us discuss with them the matter they like, under the conditions they like on the TV station of their choice,’’ Davutoğlu said. "They can put before us whoever they chose and we, too, will come with our own staff.’’ 

Erdoğan last participated in a political debate on TV in 2002, ahead of his time in office as prime minister.

Davutoğlu was the prime minister and chairman of the ruling AKP from 2014 to 2016 until he fell out with Erdoğan and was forced out. He resigned from the party in September of last year before starting the AKP rival Future Party in December.

"We will respond to every allegation, and list one by one an alternative to his wrong policies,’’ Davutoğlu said, referring to Erdoğan.

The Future Party leader criticised the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying patients who test positive for the virus are being sent home on public transportation and health workers were being worked to the point of exhaustion.

Davutoğlu also took a jab at the ruling AKP for its economic performance, saying the country’s credit rating had regressed back to a level lower than 25 years ago.

Credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded Turkey’s debt rating to ‘B2’ on Friday, citing higher external vulnerabilities and eroding fiscal buffers in the country amid the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.