The Turkish people showed in two elections last year, both the presidential and the local elections, that about half of the voters trust the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) despite all the allegations of corruption and irregularities and see it as a hope for the future.
The AK Party has a duty to live up to the expectations of the masses and thus serve for a better future for this country, and even more so as we head for the parliamentary elections in only two months' time.
Yet, the events of the past few months, unfortunately, have not been to the benefit of the AK Party and have created some questions in the public mind that will not just go away because those running the country want it that way.
First we had the fiasco of the intelligence chief resigning to become the future foreign minister and thus become a candidate hopeful on the AK Party ticket. That reportedly was a much desired move by the prime minister that failed because President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who remains the supreme leader of the party, vetoed the idea and forced the intelligence chief to give up his political ambitions and return to his intelligence post. That did not go down well with the public.
While this was going on, the president strongly objected to the interest rate policies of the central bank and said that Central Bank Chief Erdem Başçı is serving the aims of people who do not work for the good of the country. The president went as far as to accuse Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan to "come to his senses" and stop defending the policies of the central bank chief. In the end, the dispute was resolved at a meeting between Erdoğan, Başçı and Babacan, and the central bank continued to follow its own interest rate policies. That too did not go down too well with the public as it gave the impression of discord, lack of coordination and, above all, confusion in the ruling hierarchy.
Last but not least is the controversy where the president objected to the reconciliation process monitoring committee as well as the 10-point plan that would lead to negotiations between the government and PKK militants to conclude the reconciliation process successfully. The president said he was not privy to these steps and strongly voiced his objections to them. Later the government said it was at fault for not briefing the president properly over the process and said it would amend the situation. That too created serious questions in the public mind.
But the worst was the argument that erupted between Ankara's outspoken AK Party metropolitan mayor, Melih Gökçek, and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, who is famed for making controversial statements at times. Gökçek said Arınç is embarrassing the ruling party and should resign. He also insulted the Arınç family by alleging they had shadowy dealings. Arınç hit back at Gökçek accusing him of being rude and saying he was doing all this to buy favors and have his son become a candidate for the AK Party. In the end, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu stepped in and reprimanded both AK Party officials and demanded total silence from them. Yet, whether they are silent or not, the issue has openly raised eyebrows across the country, and not only among those who want the AK Party to fail badly, but among those of us who feel the party offers a golden opportunity to create a brand new Turkey that will be among the leading countries of the world. Those who support the party feel concerned and have to be appeased. That can only be done through a serious effort by Erdoğan and Davutoğlu, provided more damaging examples are not displayed that will raise new questions, since we only have two months before the crucial elections.