New AKP cadre to give hint for new policies

New AKP cadre to give hint for new policies

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
New AKP cadre to give hint for new policies

Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin is one of the controversial names in the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) due to his gaffes over the Kurdish issue.

Turkey is entering a painful fall season, within the spiral of violence and terror. With the burning fire of terror encircling politics, the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) and opposition parties the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) will hold their congresses before the end of fall. The Kurdish issue will constitute a significant platform in the shaping of the policies and staff of all three parties. All three - in congresses held under the shadow of guns and violence - will determine the staff that will form their 2015 visions, as well as giving clues as to their viewpoints for solving the problem. We will have the opportunity to understand who is hawkish and who is peaceful, what they plan to do, and what stance they will adopt over the next two years, during which time we will experience a total of three elections.

Debated names

The ruling AKP will hold its congress on Sept. 30, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will run for the chairmanship of his party for the last time. Because of the party rule banning running for office more than three terms, radical changes are expected to happen within the party’s front desk and the Cabinet. Erdoğan will make his stance on the Kurdish issue known by the symbolic names selected for both for the party and the Cabinet.

A major proportion of the Kurdish-origin deputies in the AKP, the number of whom exceeds 50, are uncomfortable with Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin. Moreover, because of the many gaffes he has made about the Kurds, they have even asked him to resign. If Erdoğan is to continue with Şahin or similar names, then it will somehow be a registered as a fact that he is going to search for a solution to the Kurdish issue in security prioritizing-nationalist policies.

Indeed, Erdoğan will probably seek a balance, but it would be inevitable that AKP deputies of Kurdish origin will be seriously annoyed if Şahin keeps his seat.

The MHP is holding its congress in November, and party leader Devlet Bahçeli may find a strong rival opposing him this time, with Trabzon deputy Koray Aydın preparing to declare his candidacy. Opponents of Bahçeli criticize him for supporting the AKP, who they consider inadequate in fighting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). That Bahçeli has praised Interior Minister Şahin and, before that, that he shook hands with Kurdish representative Ahmet Türk, have disturbed many in the party.
For many years, Bahçeli has kept the grassroots of the nationalists out of the streets, preventing possible Turkish-Kurdish fights. No doubt, views on the Kurdish issue will hold a significance place even at the MHP congress. The rising nationalist sentiments with the recent terror incidents may, if not topple Bahçeli, at least shake him strongly.

Kurdish issue

The BDP is expected to hold its congress at the end of October, and, of course, is directly involved in the Kurdish issue. There are also diverse tendencies within the BDP. Regarding possible PKK attempts to extract a Kurdish state from the Arab Spring, even though the hawkish wing within the BDP supports this ferociously, the doves, however weak they sound, want “peace without separation.” In the BDP congress, the hawks and the doves will debate. If a balance is not sought, then war in the Kurdish issue will only escalate.

New charter without the BDP?

Since their friendly poses with PKK members, the image of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has recently caused serious annoyance within the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). If the BDP continues with this stance, then its seats in the Constitution Conciliation Commission may be in jeopardy. Attempts to write the new constitution without the BDP may be on the agenda, because the corridors of the other three parties are already stirred. The four parties in that commission represent 90 percent of the population. No doubt, the constitution will fall short without the BDP, but the three parties may find it hard to resist the pressure from the grassroots in an atmosphere where funerals keep coming and when nationalism is rising.

Resignation crisis in parliament?

Unless the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) issues a call for early assembly, Parliament will open on Oct. 1, according to internal regulations. And this opening may lead to a resignation crisis, because the deputies currently under arrest have reached the point of “resigning.” Elected Zonguldak deputy Mehmet Haberal earlier said that he may go back to being an ordinary citizen. Haberal is reported to be saying that since he was not able to serve as a deputy then there was no point in staying a deputy. The AKP had saved Kemal Aktaş, whose sentence was approved and his position as a deputy was to be revoked, by changing the law. If Haberal resigns, what will the AKP do? We will see when Parliament opens.