Why will AK Party win again?

Published 02.06.2015 22:31
Updated 02.06.2015 23:55

The local elections held last year were a nightmare for the Justice and Development Party (AK Party). A great deal of audio and video tapes were in circulation, the possible corruption of four ministers was the topic of discussions, propaganda claiming that the government is close to al Qaida was in operation and rumor had it that the U.S. was also determined to overthrow the AK Party government. Despite such exceptional conditions, the AK Party won 44 percent of the vote and the election. This percentage was the highest number that any political party had ever sustained until then in local elections. This data should be very important for those who want to do a realist reading of Turkish politics since the support for the government was expected to "hit bottom" given the circumstances of that election. Then came the presidential election and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan got 52 percent of the vote in the first round, which was a considerably meaningful signifier.When we merge these two results mentioned above, there comes the picture that just as the electorate is not indifferent to corruption, they acknowledge that some AK Party members are not that honest. However, the AK Party has three advantages the other parties lack and they are valid for the next election. First, when we make a list of pros and cons for the AK Party, the latter outweighs the first. If we put it in Islamic terms, this party's good deeds exceed many times more its sins. Among these good deeds, are the termination of military tutelage, ensuring pluralism in the judiciary, rationalization of state-owned enterprises, solid management of the economy, the service mentality that prioritizes citizens, reforms in identity politics and the reconciliation process. On the list of sins are there corruptions, arbitrariness in certain areas, the tutelage politics established on society and harsh discursive style. The first list includes the kind of steps that change the quality of the political and governmental structure of Turkey. The second list contains the hobbles of the Turkish politic culture that have survived. In brief, the essence is the good deeds of the new and valuable AK Party.

Secondly, as the election bulletins and propaganda strategies show, except for the AK Party, there is no party that promises a meaningful, realist and appealing future to society. The strategy of the opposition is based on the harmonization of populism and anti-AK Party rhetoric, which is also valid for the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). These parties' imaginations for the future are either the dubbing of romantic and dreamy "principles" or they are grounded on half-baked and superficial commitments. However, the AK Party has a good tactic and has increasingly sustained its measurable and foreseeable services during the election process. At the same time, the AK Party has been able to present its aim within a stable framework to place Turkey on a more developed ground with its democracy, prosperity and foreign policy. In other words, while the opposition implied uncertainty and adventurism, the AK Party continued being the representative of solidity and predictability.

Thirdly, the AK Party is able to transform a relative superiority that no other party has into politics. As the voice of a newly emerging pluralist middle class, the AK Party reinforces the trust from society and takes the lead in breaking the congregational molds in the real conditions of life. Today, it is impossible to signify AK Party voters with the word "Islamic." A new sociological understanding of Turkey that wants to integrate with the global world, lay claims to the public sphere and has developed democratic norms is being born and the AK Party represents this. The fieldwork suggests that the number of domestic votes will be at least 19.5 million, which means that together with the 600,000 votes that are to come from abroad, the AK Party will get 45 percent of the vote. Whether the HDP exceeds the election threshold or not, a new period of an AK Party government awaits, which is not a surprising result at all.

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