Babacan says Turkey is in a dark tunnel

Ali Babacan, the former deputy prime minister from Turkey's governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) who founded a rival party in March, said the country’s future has darkened since the AKP abandoned upholding human rights and accountability, Cumhuriyet reported on Sunday.

"Turkey has entered a dark tunnel, but the government is keeping national and religious sensitivities on the agenda instead of creating a solution for economic problems. This is not sustainable," Babacan said in an interview, according to the newspaper.

Babacan, who is widely credited with successfully steering the Turkish economy during the first decade of AKP rule, which began in 2002, said foreign companies and individuals were refraining from long-term investments in the country due to lack of judicial predictability, freedoms and accountability. 

"The first issue is freedom. For modern, innovative, technological production, one must feel free. A ‘drowning feeling' is now common among young people. Without the rule of law, there will be no investment," Babacan said.

The government is now trying to disarm the country’s bar associations, known as rare critics of the increasingly authoritarian administration, with amendments to regulations governing them, Babacan said. The legislative changes, passed by parliament last week, would further undermine judicial independence, he said. 

"They think 'what should we do to make them obey?'. When this is the motivation, it is not possible for us to approach it positively," Babacan said.