Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was assigned to the Çankaya Presidential Palace after winning the presidential election held on Aug. 10. After that, discussions started regarding who will be the new chairman of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the new prime minister. The discussions ended after the AK Party's administrative council announced last week that their candidate was Ahmet Davutoğlu.
Davutoğlu is a reputable figure with the AK Party's base. Erdoğan also trusts him due to his transparent attitude in the face of critical periods such as the Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 judicial coup attempts. However, the real cause of supporting Davutoğlu is the fact that he is one of the founders of the new Turkey paradigm of the AK Party. New Turkey can be briefly defined as follows: since 1923, the date when Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded the Republic of Turkey, the country has been ruled with a regime of domination that limits the Parliament's influence. The institutions controlling the domination were able to block the Parliament's legislation on the grounds that they were against Atatürk's stable principles that belong to the 1930s even in the 2000s. When those mechanisms remained incapable, military coups were staged. Since Turkey adopted a multi-party system, the army staged coups and released memorandums every decade.
This picture started to change after the AK Party, with Erdoğan, who was imprisoned after one of those military coups, as one of its founders, came to power in 2002. Turkey is not under the threat of a possible military coup anymore. The channels of legal and legitimate politics are open to everyone, including the political wing of the PKK, who fought against the state for 30 years. Now, no non-democratic institution can impose pressure on Parliament, the only legitimate representative of the public. In brief, the first Republic founded in 1923 entered into its second era in the mid-2000s with the return of the sovereignty rights of the public that had been extorted. The term "new Turkey" is used to define this second era of the Republic.
Prime Minister Davutoğlu's role in this paradigm lies in his foreign policies complying with new Turkey during his foreign ministry. While the first Republic had an introverted perspective, Davutoğlu defended integration with the West and other countries in the region. The Turkish state used to defend Cold War era criteria on critical subjects such as Cyprus and EU membership. Davutoğlu, however, left the archaic nationalist discourse behind. As for his widely-criticized Egypt and Syria policies, he always acted according to international law and mutual humanitarian values. In Egypt, he supported the popular government and reacted against the military coup. For Syria, he criticized the dictator Bashar Assad, who did not give his opponents a right to speak and massacred 150,000 civilians. Also, the political formations that managed to get rid of the trap of orientalism set by the West and the U.S. over a century ago give credit to Davutoğlu's policies and adopt his discourses today.
All in all, this independent foreign policy perspective of Davutoğlu, which guards the requirements of universal law, justice and conscience, is the primary component of the "new Turkey" discourse.
Chronic AK Party opponents, on the other hand, are conducting some analyses through myths that cannot be supported by any tangible argument as opposed to Davutoğlu's transparency, effectual policies and actions during his term in the foreign ministry. With an essentialist approach, they tried to attribute a meaning to his behavior based on his religious view. They depict him as an adventurer with imperial aims. They also try to popularize these ideas in the U.S. and Europe. However, it is evident that no urban legend will be able to overshadow Turkey's peaceful foreign policy as implemented in the last decade.