AKP to host regional parties at congress

AKP to host regional parties at congress

Emine Kart ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
More than 100 invitations have been sent to representatives of political parties from Arab Spring countries, Central Asia, the Caucasus and Balkan countries for the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Sept. 30 congress, party officials said yesterday.

“The invitations should not be considered as an imposition of the [AKP] on these political parties. Rather, the invitations are a response to growing curiosity and interest of these parties toward [AKP] as both Mr. Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] and the party itself are sources of inspiration for these parties,” AKP Kütahya deputy İdris Bal, a member of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

The leader of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masoud Barzani, and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder are also among the invitees. AKP officials were not in a position yet late yesterday to share the final list of the attendees. However, it is not a secret that the ruling party wants to see high participation at the key congress during which Turkey’s foreign policy will also be a key item on the agenda.

“In countries where the ‘Arab Spring’ has taken place, our party has become a source of inspiration and one of them for example, Egypt, has asked for the [party to be a guide]. Turkey is being followed very carefully in the Middle East, North Africa, the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Balkans. The mission of the prime minister and [the AKP] is being taken as an example by circles who want democracy and freedom,” Bal said.

“If I may say, Mr. Prime Minister has turned into a flag there,” he said, using a Turkish idiom which means that Erdoğan has turned into a symbol with the prime minister’s picture now emblazoned on posters and T-shirts in those countries.

“Both Mr. Prime Minister and [the AKP] have an international mission,” Bal said, but underlined that neither Erdoğan nor the AKP were acting like “missionaries” toward such countries or seeking to impose their own values on the countries.

“We wish all other political parties in Turkey were as interested in regional politics as the AKP is,” Bal said.