Modernity in Turkey has merely been a poor replica of the one that is in the West. The founders perceived and practiced modernity in a completely superficial and formal manner without understanding its philosophy well. Despite its liberal texture in appearance, the regime remained authoritarian and it was thought that the patriarchal heritage of the Ottoman Empire would be overwhelmed only through this hardline attitude. However, it was not only until the end of the modern period that the regime survived with the contribution of the Cold War. Even when modernity was in the line of fire after 1970, Turkey continued to be ruled by military coups and a tutelary order.
The unsustainability of the system came out into the open better with the postmodern coup of Feb. 28, 1997. In order to adjust things accordingly, coup makers fabricated events, characters and evidence that they served through the media and attempted to maintain the order through the higher judiciary that was loyal to them. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) was established on the heels of those days, becoming the proof and subject of the fact that Turkey reached the end of the Kemalist regime, which was claimed to last for a millennium.
Luck was on the side of the AK Party. Modernity failed in the democracy test, norms changed and the door to a more pluralistic global order was opened. However, luck favored the AK Party further thanks to the 10 percent election threshold stipulated by the electoral system, the AK Party achieved 66 percent of the seats in Parliament and came to power alone, despite receiving 34 percent of the vote in the 2002 general elections. Thus it became possible to struggle with military tutelage system, ideological judiciary and centralist bureaucracy simultaneously. The collective resistance of the system made this struggle transparent and legitimate. In this process, the AK Party expanded the realm of rights and freedoms in a very irreversible way. It cracked down on the injustices experienced by others at the expense of postponing the demands of Islamic segments. The showdown that has been experienced with the Gülen Movement in the past few years and the fact that the West has grown away from supporting the AK Party has disrupted this picture, however the reform line has not changed in principle. Despite all contrary propaganda, the AK Party continues to be the most reformist party in terms of intention, power and ideological inclination today. Furthermore, as revealed by the results of the June 7 general elections, the AK Party is the sole political party whose electorate is "ahead" of the party itself in terms of the values of freedoms and justice.
However, the AK Party's 13 years in power largely weakened the party's organizations. The combination of great financial opportunities and new and hungry provincials' desire to climb the social ladder paved the way for exploitations. At such a historic moment, the 10 percent election threshold offered a new gift. The mobilization around the objective of passing the election threshold took the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) to Parliament. This time, the nearly 41 percent of the vote that the AK Party received provided it with only 47 percent of the seats. Thus, a possible coalition between the AK Party and the Republican People's Party (CHP) has turned into a realistic alternative. Obviously, this would mean the use of the gift offered by history in the best way.
There lies an opportunity ahead of Turkey to switch from Kemalism to post-Kemalism in a smooth way to bolster transitivity between segments, to tackle the country's major identity issues and to escape the shackles of an archaic understating of modernity. Such cooperation has a very high chance of preparing this smooth transition as a constitutional text and having society ratify it. Turkey can actualize a new ground of legitimacy by bringing differences together thanks to Parliament, which has the highest electoral representation in its history.
If this opportunity cannot be made use of this will not be because of the AK Party staff, base or voters as their great objective was to achieve this. What matters is to what extent the secular segment of the country is ready for a new, democratic, liberal and participative world.