Erdoğan will (again) lead the AKP against the ‘evil front’
There has been a debate over the level of influence President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would have on the Justice and Development Party (AKP) since he left the party after being elected president on Aug. 10, 2014. The latest AKP congress, and the remarks of senior AKP figures have ended this debate: Erdoğan has been, is, and will be the leader of the AKP and he will lead the fight against the “evil front.”
President Erdoğan shaped the new AKP administration at last weekend’s congress at the cost of undermining the authority of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, to whom Erdoğan handed control of the party last year. At one point, Binali Yıldırım, a close ally and adviser to President Erdoğan, was ready to run for the leader’s post with the support of 900 of the 1,445 delegates, because Davutoğlu insisted on including some names in the administration. Davutoğlu backed down and an Erdoğan-shaped list was approved at the congress.
The congress proved that President Erdoğan, whose post requires impartiality and being above all political parties according to the constitution, is still pulling the strings in the AKP. But this came as no surprise, as the president was the main force behind the AKP’s election campaign before the June 7 general elections.
Although some AKP officials, behind closed doors or without giving their names, have blamed President Erdoğan’s ambitious pre-election campaign, during which he championed one-party rule and enough parliamentary seats to change the constitution to effect a shift to a presidential system, for the loss of votes that cost the AKP its one-party government, the president is once again emerging as the main figure going into the snap election on Nov. 1.
Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci recently said there is “no point” in arguing whether President Erdoğan’s clout was felt over the recent congress of the AKP.
“This movement’s leader is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the founding and honorary leader of this party. He is our leader, who has influenced all of us and whose remarks we need from time to time,” Zeybekci said.
This mentality is the main reason why President Erdoğan will not shy away from taking center stage again before the Nov. 1 elections. On Sept. 20, two days after the deadline for the parties to submit their candidate lists for the election, he will join an anti-terror rally in Istanbul along with Parliamentary Speaker İsmet Yılmaz and Prime Minister Davutoğlu.
The rally, organized by the Civilian Solidarity Platform (SDP) that consists of NGOs close to the AKP, will mark the unofficial start of the AKP’s election campaign.
The organizer of the rally is the very same group that gave full page adds in the newspapers before a parliamentary vote on four ministers allegedly involved in a massive graft probe, arguing that approving the trial of the ministers would mean “completing the Dec. 17-25 coup efforts via the Constitutional Court.”
It is obvious that Erdoğan, hence the AKP, will base the election campaign on the concept of “the fight against terrorism.” This does not only include the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has increased its attacks on security personnel in the last two months, but also the Gülen Movement, recently dubbed the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) by pro-government media and state-run Anadolu Agency, and almost each and every non-AKP supporter for “terrorist propaganda.”
Days after Hürriyet’s building was twice attacked by mobs, a probe was launched against its parent company, Doğan Holding, for “terrorist propaganda,” based on a ridiculous report by a pro-government tabloid. The CEO of Boydak Holding, Memduh Boydak, who is also a board member of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), was detained yesterday for his alleged links to the Gülen Movement.
President Erdoğan yesterday once again claimed there were “collaborators with the terrorist organization” within the media, without giving any names. AKP lawmaker Abdurrahim Boynukalın, who addressed the crowd during the first attack on the Hürriyet building, has been enjoying the veiled support of his party despite a second video that has emerged in which he says his main mistake was “not beating up these journalists before.”
To show the “everybody is against us” mentality on the AKP front, I would like to include a list by staunch AKP and Erdoğan supporter Abdurrahman Dilipak, who wrote in his column on Sept. 11 that “an evil front is trying to trap Turkey.”
Here are the members of that “evil front,” according to the Islamist columnist:
“Iran, Syria, Israel, Egypt, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Vatican, Greece, Greek Cyprus, Scandinavian countries, Benelux countries, some NATO allies, some countries with a Muslim majority population, Armenian terrorists, the parallel state, masonic organizations, capitalist speculators, communists, fascists, moderate Islamists, white Turks and the deep state.”
Their cadres even include “sheiks and prostitutes,” according to Dilipak.
As has been the case before all elections, President Erdoğan and the AKP’s caretaker leader, PM Davutoğlu, are again alone in their struggle for a prosperous Turkey. At the time of such a great war, who are we to demand respect for the most basic democratic rights?