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Turkey's Good Party emerges as serious challenger to Erdogan

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Turkey's Good Party emerges as serious challenger to Erdogan

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Turkey's IYI, or Good Party, has emerged as a serious challenger to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan since its foundation towards the end of last year.

Headed by charismatic former minister Meral Aksener, and with a shining sun as its emblem, the party aimed to unite a fractured and demoralised opposition with a more positive vision for Turkey's future.

Ümit Özdağ, the party's deputy chairman, told Euronews that its mission is to undo a power grab by Erdogan that has broken traditional checks on the president's authority.

"Erdogan established a single party and one man rule system. After a dirty referendum held on April 16, the results are very suspicious, the constitution was effectively suspended," he said.

"Turkey is ruled by decree and one man is literally ruling the country according to his own pleasure."

Özdağ denied that his party leant towards the right, a suggestion reinforced by the presence of senior conservative figures amongst its founders.

"We represent the national centre, we are not the centre left or the centre right," he said, adding that he felt the group could win support even in southeastern Turkey, which has traditionally been tough territory for nationalist parties owing to the strong Kurdish vote.

The Good Party accepts that Turkey cannot become a full member of the European Union, Özdağ said, stressing the importance that the two sides nevertheless should form a close partnership.

"We don't need to tell any more lies to each other and create more disappointments. But Turkey is a valuable partner for the European Union, the European Union is important for Turkey."

He added, that his country should also continue looking east: "The Asia-Pacific region is a rising power. Turkey cannot remain indifferent to this region economically. Like all European Union countries, Turkey will show great interest in this region."

The major test for the Good Party will come in presidential and parliamentary elections due in 2019.