ANKARA WHISPERS > Meshaal popular among AKP supporters

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Daily News Photo / Selahattin Sönmez

Daily News Photo / Selahattin Sönmez

Göksel Bozkurt Göksel Bozkurt goksel.bozkurt@hurriyet.com.tr

Among the many high-profile leaders from around the world, Khaled Meshaal, the head of the Hamas movement, was by far the most popular foreign guest for the thousands of supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who gathered for the party’s convention in Ankara yesterday.

In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan introduced all foreign dignitaries attending the convention one by one. The biggest applause from the AKP supporters present came for Meshaal, prompting him to stand up and greet the audience.


While Meshaal was greeting the audience, slogans such as “Damn Israel” echoed around the convention hall.

Erdoğan’s opening remarks included greetings for many – from the rebels in Syria to the legendary Turkish folk singer and poet Neşet Ertaş who lost his life last week. The audience responded with applause when the prime minister said: “I wholeheartedly greet all of the heroes of Syria.”

Erdoğan’s quotations, taken from Turkish poets of all ideological camps, were seen as a means of giving a message of unity.

As the guests were being introduced the word “Kurdistan” was omitted when the president of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Massoud Barzani was announced.

The extravagant design of the convention hall and the messages delivered by the posters were aimed at emphasizing Erdoğan’s capacity as a global leader.

“Great nation, great power, target 2023,” was the slogan of the congress, reflecting Erdoğan and his ruling AKP’s aspirations to still be in power on the centennial anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic. A world map was on display behind the rostrum, as well as the flag of Turkey and various party flags in different colors.

The AKP was founded in August 2001 and it first came to power in the November 2002 elections, securing over two-thirds of the parliamentary seats. In early general elections in July 2007 the ruling party increased its support to 47 percent, while in the general elections of June 12, 2011 the party boosted its popular vote to 49.9 percent, claiming 327 parliamentary seats to form a third consecutive majority government.

Yesterday, tens of thousands of those AKP supporters from the 81 provinces of the country flocked to the capital city in order to follow the convention. Most of them had to stay outside, as the 10,000-person capacity hall was unable to meet the demand.

“We have dreams, we have love,” “Turkey’s party, Turkey’s leader,” “Everything is for Turkey, this light will not fade,” and “We are Turkey together,” read some of the banners on display.

Immunity problem blocks solution in parliament 

The main topic on Parliament’s agenda in the new legislative year will be the Kurdish problem. On this subject, the AKP and the CHP may try to form a joint commission, and there is a possibility that the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) may come to the table. Contact to this end is expected to begin soon. However, if the AKP attempts to end the political immunity of BDP members of Parliament, the solution process may well be blocked.

“You cannot demand peace by saying ‘I will dismiss the Kurds from Parliament.’ If you say so, your sincerity will be suspected and dialogue will become more difficult,” the BDP’s Gülten Kışanak said to me during a recent conversation.

Parliament will begin to work with Syria motion 

Parliament is set to begin its new legislative year today and its agenda appears to be very busy until the end of the year. Parliament’s first activity will be the motion negotiations.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP) is making plans for a motion with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

Syria Policies

The motion, which is being prepared by a group headed by Republican People’s Party deputy leader Hurşit Güneş, will mostly cover Turkey’s Syria policies and the camps housing Syrian opponents and soldiers.


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Notice on comments

mara mcglothin

10/1/2012 3:43:59 PM

So what would happen if the President of the USA have a skype conference with Ocalan and it was broadcast live around the nation and everyone applauded. Talk about a double standard. It is very sad day for Turkey REDTAIL

Recep Ozel

10/1/2012 12:37:11 PM

All this attention by AKP on Hamas (elected in Gaza) means that the more valuable West Bank is perishing and annexations there continuing unnoticed by the AKP supporters! So is this focus by AKP on Hamas really in the interests of Palestinian people? or is it actually helping Israel more?

Turiddu Giuliano

10/1/2012 12:33:53 PM

Hamas is a terrorist organization just like the PKK! I hope that the governments of the EU countries be mindful of this welcome and subsequent support by Turkey the next time a member of the Government turkish visit Europe to complain about the European attitude towards the PKK.

Truth Teller

10/1/2012 10:07:28 AM

I assume that the slogans such as “Damn Israel” echoed around the convention hall mean that tha AKP its leader agree wiyh what is wrrtten in the Hamas charter: "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory) -

Michael Johnson

10/1/2012 9:20:18 AM

Hamas and the AKP. Seems a fitting coupling.

Red Tail

10/1/2012 7:25:24 AM

I was really sad to read this. Dont we deserve to have better friends than terror organisatoins? And look at the guest list. No one from the main players in the world like EU, US, China, Brazil, Japan India, Korea was there. Only countries in the region, most of them from countries where illiteracy is a big problem (e.g Egypt), human rights violation are serious, womens rights problems and in general in a chaotic state. Do we really not have a better network and better friends?

Tayyar Abi

10/1/2012 5:18:28 AM

Why do I get the feeling Turkey is rapidly slipping from alignment from the West? Could it be the popularity of a terrorist organization like Hamas? This news is turning my stomach.

Ahmed Ibrahim

10/1/2012 5:07:43 AM

Meshaal's speech was good and enthusiastic. He also enjoys great popularity here in Egypt and as Egyptians, we feel dereliction towards the people of Palestine. Yes we respect the Camp David peace treaty, but at the same we consider "Israel" a colonial entity that stolen the land of Palestine and this firm belief will never change.
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