After the results of the Nov. 1general elections of were ascertained, innumerous comments were made on Turkey's domestic politics. The main questions of this public debate were what the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) policies were between the two elections, why the opposition parties failed and why the intellectuals who sided with the opposition fail again.
In an American journal, not that widespread before the elections, a comprehensive article was published detailing the political career of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. After analyzing the elections, "that crafty politician," the article mainly argued, "shall most probably win the elections, as global political conditions are changed drastically."
Now, how should we read "the new Turkey"? When the AK Party came to power in 2002 it gave strong signs for the initiation of radical reforms despite the then deplorable condition of politics in Turkey.
The economic crisis, the threat of military tutelage over democracy and politics, heavy pressures over the rule of law and fundamental rights and liberties and the traditional bureaucracy's constant perception of threats from any social group, primarily the AK Party, for the regime's perpetuation all constituted the fundamental problems of Turkish democracy.
Anyone that is familiar with the last decades of Turkish politics knew well that the AK Party has already overcome these problems and acquired the higher status of being a "central party."
The most distinct characteristic of the new Turkey would have risen over the precepts of democracy and human rights. The then prime minister, Erdoğan, who was strictly following the path of the European Union, said: "We demand democracy, human rights and reaching the level of contemporary civilization for our people, and we shall carry on our democratic reforms even if our candidacy for the EU won't be accepted." In the following years, he sided with democracy in Egypt in contrast to Western states that both exported democratic models and supported the coup.
Regarding foreign affairs, Turkey would have been concerned with the issues of its cultural geography. The following developments, including the principle of "zero problems" with neighboring states, greatly contributed to the growth of Turkey's trade and exports. As Turkey inherited an unavoidable history, tradition and future from the Ottomans, a passive foreign policy would simply contradict the geopolitical significance of the country. Although Turkey's concern with its cultural geography disturbs many of the playmaker countries in the region, the belief that emphasizes the positive impact of the growth of Turkey's influence for the main interests of the Western alliance is becoming more and more predominant.
The cohesion between the state and the people: The Republic of Turkey was founded by civil and military bureaucratic elite who guarded the state as the private property of their own class by making an alliance only with a narrow economic milieu. The AK Party enabled the integration of large masses of people into the state.
The Nov. 1 elections demonstrated that the cohesion and harmony between the state and the people is gradually being realized. Especially the synergy that would emerge from the common future of the state and conservative people would be seen in the following years.
People today are well-aware that a county will never be safe without having a working economy and industry. In this respect, it should be noted that Turkey is a member of the G20 and its economy continues to grow. By resolving almost all of the infrastructural issues, Turkey has now reached the level of realizing comprehensive economic reforms that could take income per capita to $10,000.
With three terms of experience of holding political power, the government led by Prime Minister Ahmet Davudoğlu can push the country toward the realization of the main goals of New Turkey.
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.