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Turkey: Former minister forms party to challenge Erdogan

October 25, 2017

FILE-In this Tuesday, May 6, 2014 file photo, the then Deputy Parliament Speaker Meral Aksener, chairs a debate at the parliament on corruption charges against four former cabinet ministers of the then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Ankara, Turkey. Aksener, 61, a former Turkish interior minister and deputy parliament speaker, has formed a new party on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017, hoping to challenge President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in elections set for 2019. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A former Turkish interior minister and deputy parliament speaker has formed a new party hoping to challenge President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in elections set for 2019.

The 61-year-old Meral Aksener founded the center-right “Iyi Parti,” or “Good Party,” in Ankara on Wednesday with a group of legislators who broke away from Turkey’s nationalist party this year. They were angered by the support that party gave Erdogan in a referendum that increases the president’s powers.

Aksener is Turkey’s first woman interior minister and served in that post between 1996 and 1997 until the government, a conservative-Islamist coalition, was ousted under military pressure.

At a ceremony marking the party’s founding, Aksener suggested that she could run against Erdogan in the presidential elections.

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