The reformist tradition of the AK Party

Published 05.07.2019 22:34
Updated 06.07.2019 00:23

Since coming to political power in 2002, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has made radical reforms in the Turkish political system.

To begin with, the AK Party had painstakingly analyzed Turkey's major problems, and then, classified them in terms of priority and urgency. Its ability to identify these problems and come up with practical solutions, together with its effectiveness in dealing with a good number of problems in tandem, put the AK Party ahead of other political parties. These problems consisted of not only of a huge deficit of service in the fields of economy, security, education, health and transportation, but also of long-standing deadlocks in Turkey's political system.

Military and civilian bureaucratic tutelage had been hanging over Turkey's halting democracy as the "sword of Damocles." Although political parties appeared to rule the country, they were, in fact, weak institutions, easily toppled whenever the true owners of political power deemed it necessary.

Therefore, the AK Party has not only competed with its rival political parties but has also ruled the country under the constant threat of historically-rooted military and civilian bureaucratic tutelage. During this turbulent political period, the tutelary judiciary branch had strived to close down the ruling AK Party, while the Turkish General Staff published an e-memorandum against the government on its official website.

Overcoming all these political obstacles, the AK Party has tenaciously continued to work in favor of Turkey's economic and political growth. Meanwhile, another political calamity was secretly developing inside the very state structure, i.e. the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). As the judicial branch was civilized after the constitutional referendum of 2010, the FETÖ spy ring had achieved seizing Turkey's legal system.

Penetrating into the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Turkish army and the Turkish telecommunication system, FETÖ had begun to threaten not only the members of the government but also the managers of major public and private institutions. Immediately after, the AK Party had achieved in overcoming military and civilian bureaucratic tutelage, FETÖ had emerged as a much more perilous threat for Turkey's future.

As they were realizing all their political and economic intrigues under the guise of working with the government, they had succeeded in showing the AK Party as an anti-democratic political party. Hence, since 2013, the AK Party had begun to struggle against FETÖ and its sophisticated intrigues.

Defined as a dominant political party, Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has near continuously been in power since its foundation in 1955. When we ask our Japanese political scientists about the secret behind the LDP's dazzling political success, they particularly emphasize the LDP's ability to redress the balance among its intraparty factions.

It is undoubtedly true that the AK Party resembles its Japanese counterpart and rightfully deserves the appellation "Turkey's dominant political party" with its successive electoral triumphs. In the last local elections, the AK Party lost the metropolitan municipalities, while the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has succeeded in increasing its voting rates. Nonetheless, not only has the ruling AK Party still been the greatest political party in Turkey but also President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continues to remain the most trusted political leader in the country. At this critical moment when certain political actors attempt to form new political parties, people wonder about the internal debates within the AK Party and the prospective stance of the president.

Since the opposition political parties have never developed a reformist political agenda, the AK Party has always pioneered Turkey's economic and political changes. Meticulously reinterpreting the electoral messages of the Turkish voters, the AK Party did not abstain from changing, from time to time, almost half of its members of the assembly. Although it has been in political power for 18 years, the AK Party has succeeded to remain vigorous thanks to its reformist character. At this juncture, people likewise expect from the AK Party a political stance that would comply with its reformist political tradition.

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