The AK Party: One year ago and today
In accounts of the Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) Sept. 12 congress, most comments have suggested that “the chief has seized the party,” or “the chief held the reigns and reinforced his dominance,” or “the chief drew up the party’s 50-member decision-making committee (MKYK) list,” or “he decided everything alone,” or “he crossed out all the names close to Davutoğlu,” or “he used Binali Yıldırım’s candidacy as a deterrent,” etc…
When some people, in an attempt to ingratiate themselves with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, contribute to this impression, all talk turns into talk about the leader’s domination, tutelage, custodianship and representation, quite rightly.
If former Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım really was an opponent of Davutoğlu, and if there was a competitive but clean, honest competition between them, it would not have been any worse than this. It would not have weakened the AK Party; on the contrary it would have strengthened it.
However, from the tricks staged in lobbies and from the priming before the congress it was obvious that there was not going to be a real democratic race. A policy of creating internal tension was implemented; methods to aggravate and intimidate were adopted; there was ugliness about secret signature-collecting that even in the Republican People’s Party (CHP) - the party of factions and congresses - would be shocking.
The dispute during the congress and the roar after the congress draw the following picture for the AK Party:
- A profile of Ahmet Davutoğlu emerged. Davutoğlu had to stomach the shame he was exposed to for the sake of not revealing cracks in the party, had to grit his teeth to find a middle path over the MKYK list, and had to manage the situation carefully just to not topple the entire vehicle.
- Rumors of Binali Yıldırım’s virtual candidacy were made into a tool to make rebellious souls within the party get in line. Yıldırım’s name was used as a Sword of Damocles.
- There is a “contractors’ lobby” that is able to infiltrate into the internal affairs of the AK Party.
- There is also an AK Party that has not been able to reorganize its relationship with its founder leader after he became the president. Instead of adapting its relations to the new situation, the AK Party looks as if it has gone back in time…
This AK Party scene is exactly the opposite of the perspective drawn personally by Erdoğan one year ago.
Back then, he made very clear statements. He pledged impartial support and contribution. He stressed that Davutoğlu was not a caretaker and that the AK Party, ever since its founding day, would make decisions after consultations. He stressed that the party was not owned by individuals. He said the party’s cause was not equivalent to individual people. “This blessed movement is not honored by its members; it honors its members. Those who exclude consultation and shared wisdom are damaging the cause. This cause has never been about the possession of a seat. This cause has always excluded personal ambitions, hubris, trouble and discord, jealousy, undermining. It has always thrown these things outside its circle,” he said.
Any comment after these words is unnecessary, isn’t it?