The calendar in Erdoğan’s mind
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the chair of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) from the day it was founded on Aug. 14, 2001, until he resigned on Aug. 27, 2014, because he was elected the president, registering a total of 13 years and 13 days. He is back as the chair of AK Party after 998 days.
In its rule of 15 years, the AK Party transformed and developed itself while also transforming Turkey. He did what Süleyman Demirel and Turgut Özal dreamed of doing but were not able to; Erdoğan went back to leading his party.
If the AK Party did not experience an interregnum like the Motherland Party (ANAP) did after Özal and the True Path Party (DYP) did after Demirel, Erdoğan’s leadership has a role to play in this.
I participated in the first party conventions after political bans were lifted against Demirel, Bülent Ecevit and Necmettin Erbakan. A leader always makes a difference. Big and enthusiastic conventions were held then; sentimental moments were experienced. Erdoğan’s “back at the party” convention was also big, with the excitement of his return in evidence as well. However, it was not sentimental but enthusiastic.
President Erdoğan gave very important messages in his speech. Nobody should see themselves as “otherized,” he said.
His message to party members was that they were able to overcome tough times “because we regarded winning hearts as important as winning votes.” He advised them to build “bridges to people’s hearts.”
He said there were exhausted ones and ones who had lost their way, drawing a clear line between themselves and those who abandoned the AK Party for the first time.
He also launched a rejuvenation process in the party administration and provincial branches. “Our aim is to make our organization younger. Those between the ages of 18 and 20 should be in our provincial organizations.” He issued instructions for places to be made for the youth.
He also said the 10 percent election threshold had been left behind; the new threshold was 50 percent plus 1. “You have to start working for 2019 now.”
In his speech, Erdoğan signaled there would be no concessions in the fight against the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). We have seen once more that July 15 has been Erdoğan’s turning point. He told AK Party members, “The dismissals were a must. Even if it reaches your closest ones, you should support this fight.”
He closed the doors to the expectations of “Will the resolution process begin?” Well, then, has the solving of the Kurdish issue with civilian methods been closed forever? No. He said, “We will not fall into the mid-income trap, or the mid-democracy trap.” He talked about reforms, but at the same time he said the state of emergency would not be lifted.
“Forget old solutions. New processes will come with their own conditions. The determined fight against the PKK will continue; when a certain stage is reached, the reform process will begin,” he said.
Erdoğan said they would announce a road map for six months. “One leg of this road map will be development and economy; the other leg will be democracy and reforms.”
Erdoğan has rejoined his party and AK Party has rejoined its leader. It is a new beginning. President Erdoğan has a calendar in his mind. At the beginning of this week, the AK Party window will be re-arranged; toward the end of the week changes in the cabinet will start. Changes in the party organizations and local governments will follow. The success of 2019 will come from the changes made today. Whatever Erdoğan asked from the nation, the nation has given more to him. For this reason, he knows he has no other option but success.