The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is a political movement that was established after a long process and gained its legitimacy and power from public support. The National Vision Movement, organized during the 1970s, was a step to represent the conservative circles that were marginalized. While conservatives tended to support central parties, the National Vision was trying not to be overpowered by heavy military oppression and media manipulation with Necmettin Erbakan's organizational initiative.
The coalition it formed with the Republican People's Party (CHP) during the mid-1970s, then the 1980 military coup, the Motherland Party (ANAP) that was founded by Turgut Özal, a popular figure among conservatives, the Welfare Party that was established after Erbakan's political bans were lifted, the Welfare Party's coalition with the True Path Party (DYP), and their overthrow with a postmodern coup staged on Feb. 28, 1997...
A rather valuable thing is hidden behind this story. Above all, it was a public movement, a civilian movement that focused on protecting women, households and the poor. The movement acted according to the sociological conditions of Turkey and cared about public problems because it wanted the public to come to power. This movement faced constant marginalization attempts by being associated with reactionism. This army/secularist media/capital oppression turned into a natural vote limit on the party for a while.However, this limit was broken when Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became Istanbul mayor in 1994 and performed his duties successfully. Fearing his success, the elites of Turkey organized the Feb. 28 coup. They interpreted this movement as one attempted by a certain cadre and assumed that rendering the cadre ineffective would also prevent the movement. However, this movement was not the result of the efforts of a small cadre, but the result of a 30-year-old story and the grassroots supporting it. Consequently, they could not prevent the AK Party coming to power on Nov. 3, 2002, which was an extension of the National Vision Movement.
Within the last 14 years, Erdoğan turned into a leader who has radically democratized Turkey and helped the country to achieve an economic leap. He won all the nine elections that were held within this period. Leaving the prime ministry seat to Ahmet Davutoğlu, he became the President. Since the 2007 referendum, he has been the actor of the current macro politics at which the president is also elected by popular vote. However, since the state system was established upon creating bureaucratic tutelage, this system does not function anymore. The legislation could be oppressed, the jurisdiction could be placed under tutelage, and execution can be overpowered by the oppression of bureaucracy even though it is elected by popular vote.
For this reason, Erdoğan and Davutoğlu think that the new Parliament that is to be formed after June 7 elections should target a public constitution that includes the renewal of this system. This means the direct conveyance of public demands to active politics. Currently, only the AK Party is producing the meaningful politics that takes its source from the public.
A coalition representing the old Turkey stands against this. They seem secular, modern and Western on the surface. But this is a tricky point since the conservatives are the ones producing healthy secularism and modernity in Turkey. For others, those notions are only covers to receive the support of the West rather than the values that are really believed. The Turkish elites do not pay attention to the western democratic merits. They only use the notion of being Western as a cover to form tutelage, or drink alcohol. In this elite stratum, Westernization is always identified with the ruling power and superficial thoughts.
Therefore, the public is witnessing a competition between the old and new Turkey rather than the competition of political parties in these elections. People observe who is setting a plot and who is honest, and do not have difficulty in telling the difference. The ruling power's practices have worked in favor of the people and undermined bureaucracy for the last 13 years. This is the only reliable criterion of evaluation.
We do not know which plots are considered in which places. But in Turkey, people are writing the only plot. And the only way to be effective in this is to address the public with credible and assuring projects. But the opposition does not have such a property. Currently there are only a few temporary tactics to promote the pro-Kurdish party.