The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) represents a force in Turkish politics that triggers historic ruptures in a range of areas including the Kurdish question. The issue that guardianship regime rendered into a chronic problem came to be tackled through a positive and proactive agenda by the government. As such, one would realize that the AK Party itself introduced a number of concepts with reference to public debate that are currently taking place.
In this regard, the party familiarized the nation with key concepts like the Kurdish opening, the national unity and fraternity project as well as bringing the practice of denial and assimilation to an end. In the meantime, the general population witnessed an intense debate on the Dersim Massacre, the discourse of "let mothers cry no longer," the efforts of the Wisemen Committee and a new relationship with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq. Almost all restrictions stemming from the guardianship regime have thus disappeared.
It was the AK Party, not these actors, that is presumed to be the direct stakeholder in the Kurdish question that facilitated the general population's interaction with a former taboo. As such, the government rescued this crucial domain from the conceptual oppression of the guardianship regime, which manifested itself most clearly in official accounts of Turkish history and references to the secular nation-state.
Under former prime minister and current president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the country found an opportunity to patch up the wounds inflicted by the guardianship regime and the PKK. During this period the government launched a discreet project to tackle political fears, social tensions and economic costs affiliated with the Kurdish question. The direct result of this project was the AK Party's emergence as the top choice of Kurdish voters and nationwide support for reconciliation.
When future generations look back to the early 21st century they will identify the AK Party, as opposed to those claiming ownership of the Kurdish question, as the main actor of the political field. History, too, will tell the story of those who could not bring themselves to work with the AK Party since the 2009 Kurdish opening. Let us imagine for a second that the AK Party had zero seats in Parliament. A quick glance at the radical differences between the past 13 years with the eight decades that preceded them would reveal how much the country has achieved.
The title of "dominant party" that the AK Party will assume after the upcoming parliamentary elections entails the consolidation of a consensus beyond the party's electoral base. This is exactly why the ruling party can take risks to make positive contributions to deeply paralyzing issues. Opposition parties, in turn, lack the ability to show even a little courage with regard to initiatives with 10 percent public support, let alone revolutionary steps. The Republican People's Party (CHP) remains haunted by the guardianship regime and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) cannot look beyond the old Turkey's psychological limits. Meanwhile, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is experiencing the pains of disarmament although no obstacle remains in their path.
It is, of course, possible for the AK Party's competitors to give up their petty opposition to the reconciliation process and become constructive players. If the HDP were to push for disarmament, the CHP prove that it sincerely tries to replace the guardianship regime's Constitution and the MHP could serve to facilitate rather than hinder social peace, the political landscape could change radically. Short of such historic developments, however, the AK Party will remain the sole political party with a positive agenda on reconciliation.