CHANGING TURKISH POLITICS WITH AK PARTY ERA

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Early 2000’s Turkey was in economic and political crisis with 10 years unsuccessful coalition governments. In that time, with Ecevit’s serious disease the coalition government was failed that means signal of early election. On the other hand, in right Islamist side, that as known as National Vision (Milli Görüş) movement of the Virtues Party (Fazilet Partisi, FP), had a disintegration between reformist side with Abdullah Gül and conservative side with Recai Kutan. Thus, Abdullah Gül groups leaved from FP and they established the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) in 14 august 2001.[1]After In 1999 election, FP had just 15,4 votes. After that many FP’s voters gave up hopes and moved to AKP. Wind carrying AKP to power alone, classic centres that Turkey has experienced for many years, right and left parties are born with that a response given by the public masses of the exhaust of the rottenness with ideological and artificial debate between them. The core cadre that formed the AK Party was formed from people who have a mind of the mind that feeds on the “Milli Görüş” movement that comes from the Welfare Party (Refah Party, RP) tradition in terms of political backgrounds. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the founding father of the party, Abdullah Gül and Bülent Arınç have come to the forefront as important figures in the RP and FP. In Turkey, the AKP that came with the purpose of placing a new understanding of politics has been based to move about without drowning in a narrow ideological model. The AKP has included the freedom of “conjectural flexibility” to the ideological frame of Turkish political life. In this paper, AKP era will examine in four periods.[2] The first, the era (2002-2007) of national Vision-based, conservative centred, liberal economic position. The second, the era (2007-2012) of conservative based, new power perspective with political conservation and consolidation focus. The third, the era (2012-2016) of Extremely conservative, nationalist reflexes increasing national, statist new paradigm. The last, the era (15 July 2016- Todays) of Nationalist-conservative based, national security based, national and national policy understanding.

 

1- The era (2002-2007) of national Vision-based, conservative centred, liberal economic position

In the period named as the conservative centred liberal economic position based on the National vision, the heterogenic of collecting all sections in the first years of the AKP government had a high structure. ANAP, RP and many names belonging to the liberal tradition have found room for itself. The AKP has also begun to present itself as the ideal partner for westernization in the negotiation process with the EU.

The first time since the 1991 elections, the AKP, which has seized the opportunity of a one-party government, has set out quickly. The AKP, with the statement of Erdogan, underlined that “it is not an Islamic party but a conservative democratic party” by throwing out shirt of “national vision”[3]. This was an important choice that it seemed that the AKP was aiming to become a partner in the centre-right politics tradition that began with the DP. This tradition included the internal politic advantage of some gains obtained by foreign policy in the international economic and political power centres, without conflict and even by getting them to cooperate. The AKP has begun to encourage itself up with the assumption that the tradition of membership of the European Union will unite many segments of society. This time there was a serious difference. Earlier central right-wing rulers abstained from the promise of serious democratization, lying with the rhetoric of economic development. The AKP took the view that a democratization effort in harmony with the European Union would be functional in overcoming some of the problems that are constantly being addressed in domestic politics.

The AKP government legalised a series of reform packages that deepened the integration process with the European Union, with the comfort of the majority of the single party and the serious support of the CHP. For example, the noteworthy aspect of the 6th harmonization package adopted on June 19 in 2003 that is the removal of Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law, which has previously failed many of its attempts to change, and is particularly relevant to the convictions of intellectual crimes.[4] This arrangement also ensures that broadcasts in different languages and dialects used in everyday life can be broadcast on both public and private television. It was also one of the most noticeable arrangements of this package that the sections dedicated to the religions helped to open places of worship.

The AKP government, which attaches importance to the European Union, has begun to live more intensely in the difficulties of finding a process that the domestic and foreign policy issues are intertwined and the day is becoming increasingly complex. Especially after December 2004, when the constitution of the European Union was called in France (May 2005) and in the Netherlands (June 2005) it was started to be interpreted as the EU enlargement strategy was not accepted by the peoples.[5] Turkey frequently than ever before in history began to be discussed in the European made public. On the other hand, Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel (2005) is against Turkey and the European Union to be elected President Nicolas Sarkozy (2007) has expressed similar views in France, it led to the slowing down of the integration process.[6] The 2007 presidential crisis has been the breaking point.

 

2- The era (2007-2012) of conservative based, new power perspective with political conservation and consolidation focus

In the period when its named conservative-based, new power-oriented perspective with political protection and consolidation, the AKP strengthened its base by adopting a protective approach against the block against it. 2007 Presidential Crisis and republican rallies, 27 April 2007 Developments like E-Mortgage, 2008 World Economic Crisis, shocks created by Dink Assassination and Ergenekon Places have laid the groundwork for the steps of the ruling party to protect their steps. The secularism debates that lived in this period gave great damage to the democratization process of the country.

In the 2007-2010 period and in the Ergenekon case axis, important steps in the direction of impact and demilitarization filed the military in Turkey’s political life was thrown; serious debates have occurred. It would be reasonable to assume that the general election in 2007, the presidential election, the referendum, the local elections in 2009, and the partial vote in the Constitution in September 2010 will take place in a political environment where these debates are stamped. At this time, it seems that the AKP has helped to gain power in the media. For Example, The Times (Zaman) and Star newspapers are seen to control nearly 40 percent of the national circulation with five million circulations.[7]

On the other hand, Economy shrank for the first time in the AKP period, unemployment has stood at 15 per cent. Despite the fact that the losses of the AKP did not reach serious dimensions, the loss of votes by the previous election was influenced psychologically. In other words, the opposition opened a gap in the perception of the AKP’s invincibility and started to prepare for the 2011 general elections. However, The AKP was going to the general elections of June 12, 2011 with great advantages; Civilian and military bureaucrats have begun to receive signals of overcoming obstacles and improving the economy. Erdogan, the elections are now entering the Mastery Period and for 2023 entered with our vision slogans ready.6 AKP leader Erdogan, who has become stronger than the elections in 2011, restarted the initiative aimed at the democratic ways of the Kurdish issue, which was called Resolution and Peace process at the end of December 2012 this time.

 

3- The era (2012-2016) of Extremely conservative, nationalist reflexes increasing national, statist new paradigm

Extraordinarily conservative, nationalist reflections increased nationalism, anti-Erdogan opposition rising during the new paradigm period, Arab Spring, Trip Events, the emergence of FETO, the failure of the Resolution Process and the PKK’s Trench Politics, 17-25 December Impact Initiative, 2014 Presidency His elections, like the June 7th Elections and the coalition’s termite, have developed a new chemistry. Pure conservatism has begun to be supported by nationalist national and security approaches.

In this period, AKP leader Erdogan’s authoritarian rhetoric aimed at different segments of society after the 2011 elections and the entry into attitudes, Turkey has become a country polarized again. While there was a positive atmosphere in the solution process, authoritarianism in other sectors and areas strengthened the criticism that the AKP was building a civil tutelage. Especially after the 2010 Constitutional Amendment Public Order, the regulations that the AKP has previously engaged in education and social life, quickly and without sufficient negotiations by using the majority of the Assembly, have begun to appear in many circles as an attack on their lifestyle and freedoms. After these events, the trips and corruption crimes that occurred after the events were deepened. Finally, Fetullah Güllen movement has received a great reaction from AKP’s decision to close the two-month stay of AKP’s 2014 local elections.

 

4- The era (15 July 2016- Todays) of Nationalist-conservative based, national security based, national and national policy understanding

Nationalist-conservative, national security-based national and national politics is actually a process of the third period. The AKP has developed a new discourse in the face of the instability in the Middle East in the 2012-16 period, the July 15 period, the July 15 coup, the ISIS and the PYD threat, the PKK actions, the Syrian problem, the Iraqi Kurdistan problem, cross-border operations. At this point, combating terrorism and national security have become two key elements of the new ideological framework.

Finally, in 1997, Brzezınskı argued that If Turkey feel excluded from the European Union, that they want to join.[8] They will be more Islamic and reduce its cooperation with the West. Actually, this emerged after the 15 July coup, because EU with Merkel and America with Trump did not support to Turkey as before like they did not accept the FETO as terror organization, they did not give big weapons to Turkey, the EU did not accept PKK as a terrorist organization and the USA support the YPG and PYD that are similar with PKK in Syria. Because of this events Turkey try to establish new relation with Russia and İran on many issues.

Since its founding, the AK Party has shown conservative democratization as its ideological vision. Erdogan’s foundation speech, ” Our party clearly denies the fact that it is a party that imposes ideology on the nation and that sacred religious values and ethnicity are exploited to make political material”. AKP is a catch all party in terms of its political attitudes rather than being an ideology party. The goal in all of Turkey has become a strong and long-term it would be useful to know to sustain the compression to which the AKP narrowly ideological mould. By this conjectural flexibility he has designed his politics not according to ideological bigotry but with change and transformation. Hence, freedom of movement has laid the foundation for the victory to preserve its political legitimacy and make its government sustainable. To sum up conservative as the AKP periphery to the centre to carry democratic Turkey with the political life of the flexible ideological perspectives reflect a new political stance to adapt himself to look good mobility and fluctuations in the cyclical development / behaviour should be noted that gain.

To sum up, in the first period AKP was aiming to become a partner in the centre-right politics tradition that began with the DP. In the second period, it became stronger against the military and left side. In the third period, its pure conservatism has begun to be supported by nationalist national and security approaches. In the last period, it tries to establish new relations with Russia and the different states because of the big problems of the EU and the USA relations as mentioned above.

 

References:

Aydın, Suavi, and Yüksel Taşkın. 1960tan günümüze Türkiye tarihi. Istanbul: İletişim, 2014.

Aydin, Senem. “Political Islam in Turkey.” SSRN Electronic Journal, 2007. doi:10.2139/ssrn.1338012.

Aksöz, Abdulkadir. “AK PARTİ’NİN TÜRKİYE’NİN DEĞİŞEN ŞARTLARINDA ESNEK İDEOLOJİK YAPISI.” İlim ve Medeniyet. Accessed December 17, 2017. https://www.ilimvemedeniyet.com/ak-partinin-turkiyenin-degisen-sartlarinda-esnek-ideolojik-yapisi.html.

Kuru, Ahmet T. “Globalization and Diversification of Islamic Movements: Three Turkish Cases.” Political Science Quarterly 120, no. 2 (2005): 253-74. doi:10.1002/j.1538-165x.2005.tb00547.x.

Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives. New York: Basic Books, 2016.

Dagi, Ihsan. “Turkey’s AKP in Power.” Journal of Democracy 19, no. 3 (2008): 25-30. doi:10.1353/jod.0.0015.

Demiralp, Seda. “The Rise of Islamic Capital and the Decline of Islamic Radicalism in Turkey.” Comparative Politics 41, no. 3 (2009): 315-35. doi:10.5129/001041509×12911362972278.

Kılınç, Ramazan. “International Pressure, Domestic Politics, and the Dynamics of Religious Freedom: Evidence from Turkey.” Comparative Politics 46, no. 2 (2014): 127-45. doi:10.5129/001041514809387324.

Mardin, Şerif. “Turkish Islamic Exceptionalism Yesterday and Today: Continuity, Rupture and Reconstruction in Operational Codes.” Turkish Studies 6, no. 2 (2005): 145-65. doi:10.1080/14683840500119478.

Rabassa, Angel, and F. Stephen Larrabee. “Turkeys Proactive Foreign Policy under the AKP.” Democracy, Identity and Foreign Policy in Turkey. doi:10.1057/9781137277121.0009.

Yesil, Bilge. “Media in New Turkey.” University of Illinois Press, 2017. doi:10.5406/illinois/9780252040177.001.0001.

Muhammed İsmail AKKAYA

 

[1] Süavi Aydın and Yüksel Taşkın, 1960’tan Günümüze Türkiye Tarihi ( İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2014), 462-463.

[2] Abdülkadir Aksöz, ” Ak Parti’nin Türkiye’nin Değişen Şartlarında Esnek İdeolojik Yapısı, ” İlim ve Medeniyet Journal. (2016 Aguste), 1. ( download 12.12.2017)

[3] Süavi Aydın and Yüksel Taşkın, 1960’tan Günümüze Türkiye Tarihi (İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2014), 464-465.

[4]Senem Aydin, “Political Islam in Turkey.” SSRN Electronic Journal. (2007), 12-13. (downloaded 08.12.2017).

[5] Süavi Aydın and Yüksel Taşkın, 1960’tan Günümüze Türkiye Tarihi (İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2014), 463-464.

[6] Süavi Aydın and Yüksel Taşkın, 1960’tan Günümüze Türkiye Tarihi (İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2014), 471-472.

[7] Süavi Aydın and Yüksel Taşkın, 1960’tan Günümüze Türkiye Tarihi (İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2014), 471-472.

[8] Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives. New York: Basic Books, 2016, 278.

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Muhammed İsmail AKKAYA

IR (Researcher on Russia and Central Asia) muhammedismailakkaya@gmail.com

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