The Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which has maintained its political power for 13 years, obtained 40.66 percent of the vote in the June 7 general elections. After a short-winded celebration by the opposition political parties, the AK Party is still the only playmaker in Turkish politics. In other words, as the opposition political parties commonly rely on identity politics, the formation of a government not including the AK Party seems almost impossible.
In its founding years, the AK Party was embraced by the majority of citizens and resolved dozens of major domestic issues. The investments realized in the fields of candidacy for the European Union, democratization, economic recovery, education, health and transportation have already turned Turkey into a regional power.
In this column, I will mainly argue that while the AK Party evaluates the present state of Turkish politics, it needs to work over its new vision by taking the coming 20 years into meticulous consideration.
It is my conviction that although the AK Party has not yet succeeded to form a government, one of the most crucial aspects of its new vision is the need to redefine the discursive phenomenon of "New Turkey."
While the AK Party's 13 years in power turned the country into a regional power, Turkey's international competitors, who are discontented by its new active and strong foreign policy behavior, seem to have the mission of overthrowing the AK Party government. In this respect, the cooperation between Turkey's international competitors and their domestic links is formed against the AK Party's power. Thus, the AK Party's vision for the present decade should be redefined by taking the following aspects into consideration:
• The new vision that the AK Party puts forward requires, first and foremost, a new state structure.
• Turkey's most crucial issues, which had mainly been focused on domestic problems in the previous periods, should concentrate in the upcoming period on the regional and the international arena.
• Turkey requires a stronger intelligence service and network, since from the beginning of the reconciliation process over the Kurdish question it has been exposed to more domestic and regional operations than ever before.
• Turkey's foreign policy, which has a vital role in the region, should be as large scaled as those of the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, the United States and Iran. It is now well understood that our 70-year traditional foreign policy cannot satisfy the complex demands of the present post-Cold War period, which itself requires a multidimensional, active and flexible foreign policy behavior.
• Turkey's state institutions should be reformed in comparison with well-functioning institutions worldwide to the point where Turkey is able to set a new benchmark for state management.
• Instead of the outworn term "public reform," the AK Party needs to aim at state reform by making it clear that the resolution of public issues should always be taken beyond the conjectural struggles of political parties and turned into a duty of the state.
• While the most vital issues of the country were, until the present hour, military tutelage, freedom of thought and faith and democratization, the new decade requires the country to focus on the system of law and education, transition to new technology and active participation to international competition.
• In order to become a great regional power, Turkey requires a well-functioning economy, military and culture policy at the same time.
• As each state inspires from a state model that is determined according to its scale, Germany and the U.K. should be Turkey's state models in the present decade.
About the author
İhsan Aktaş is Chairman of the Board of GENAR Research Company. He is an academic at the Department of Communication at Istanbul Medipol University.