A new era
It is normal to have intense feelings and exaggerated rhetoric in such times, but neither Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, nor President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would talk in such manners while in diplomatic and formal meetings. They will look at concrete solutions for concrete problems. The zealous manners of the recent hand-over congress were to incite the crowds and the party’s organization.
It has become certain in Congress that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is welded by Erdoğan to each and every cell. The “debating” mechanism is no more than agreeing with his thoughts. So, when he takes office in Çankaya, he will guide, if not lead, the government himself.
Davutoğlu will not be a ‘shadow’
So is Davutoğlu going to be just a “Cabinet Supervisor,” as Nihat Zeybekci claimed? No! Davutoğlu is a person with his own thoughts, political ideas and ambitions. He will govern the party and the Cabinet with this energy.
But he won’t contradict Erdoğan. His announcement of allegiance to Erdoğan during the party congress indicates there will not be any duality inside the party in the future. It’s also important that Davutoğlu avoided mentioning Abdullah Gül, with whom he had worked for 12 years, while expressing his gratitude to even party members who worked in the ballot boxes during his ascendance speech. There will be disagreements between Davutoğlu and Erdoğan, but there will never be a clash between them.
Davutoğlu will sometimes convince Erdoğan and he will listen to his directives at times. So those who expect a clash between the two should not waste their time waiting for it to happen.
What’s the course?
Erdoğan’s control over the legislative and the judicial powers as the political leader of the AK Party movement is evident. Erdoğan himself made clear that he is not going to be a parliamentary president when he claimed that he “would not comply with the conventions and make his own conventions instead.” How long will that last? Will it compel the system? Will it contribute to the polarization of the nation? Can he secure the votes he needs to change to the presidential system in the 2015 election?
It’s too early to answer these questions. My only wish is that the feeling of power does not wash away rationality and consensus in politics.
The most positive impression I received from the congress was Davutoğlu’s remark on the economy: “There isn’t going to be an economic development without a new economic enterprise, the necessary education of economic manpower and a fully democratized judicial environment.” These are the principles that Babacan has been trying to stress for years. These remarks indicate that the guidance of the economy has now been given to Babacan and the Central Bank will remain independent. I hope the government will show the same rationalism in other political matters, such as freedom of the press, the separation of powers and the polarization of the country.
Yesterday, Culture Minister Ömer Çelik, reminding of the “dominant party” model in Japan, made a political statement: “The AK Party holds the status of the ‘dominant party.’ In this model, the changes are done inside the party. The change’s success is important for the country’s stability. That’s what we are achieving in this congress. In the dominant party model, the ruling party requires an effective opposition party to keep the government in check. Unfortunately, there is no such party in Turkey.”
I have to add that, being different from Japan’s Liberal Democrat Party, which has formed the government for almost 40 years, ruling parties tend to become more autocratic in Turkey the longer they stay in power. Turkey seriously needs an opposition party that is able to embrace the masses. Inevitably, democracy is a regime of “checks and balances.”
A new era has begun in Turkey. I hope it will be fortunate for the country.