PM Erdoğan to reveal his ‘23 roadmap

PM Erdoğan to reveal his ‘23 roadmap

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
PM Erdoğan to reveal his ‘23 roadmap

Along with the manifesto, the AKP convention will also observe changes to party management, what Erdoğan called the ‘process of updating the organization.’ Hürriyet photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is planning to turn next week’s party convention, where he will run for the leadership post for the last time, into a “fest of democracy.” He plans to announce “a political manifesto” outlining his Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) vision and goals for the centennial anniversary of the founding of Turkey in 2023.

“A document outlining the AK Party’s political vision is also being written, which we can call ‘a serious manifesto,’” Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay said in an interview with Kanal 7 Sept. 23.

With just a week left to the AKP’s general convention Sept. 30 in Ankara, some details about Erdoğan’s highly anticipated address to the convention and plans to appoint executive cadres have been revealed. One of the most important changes in the party’s decision-making body would be the appointment of Numan Kurtulmuş as the new right arm of Erdoğan, the deputy leader responsible for political and legal affairs.

According to information gathered by the Hürriyet Daily News, Erdoğan’s plan is to shape the vision of the AKP for future goals in his fourth and last general convention before running for the presidency in 2014. The political manifesto Erdoğan will announce at the convention will first analyze the achievements Turkey has observed since late 2002 when the AKP came into power. But more importantly, the manifesto will talk about a future Turkey, describing a country with world-class democratic and economic standards.

Given the fact that Turkey will see three important elections in the next three years, Erdoğan is also expected to give hints about his party’s goals and to instruct party branches to start the pre-election campaign for next year’s local elections especially.

“We are attaching great importance to this convention in the 10th year of our party’s rule. This will on one hand be a review of what we have done and on the other an opportunity to draw the party’s vision for the future,” Atalay said.

Kurdish issue on the agenda

As the AKP’s general convention coincides with the high days of the anti-terror fight and with national outrage against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) fatal attacks against security forces and civilians, the Kurdish issue will be addressed in Erdoğan’s speech as well, according to AKP officials.
“Mr. Prime Minister is expected to outline a plan of ‘social restoration’ for Southeastern Anatolia in case of an end of terror attacks,” AKP officials said, adding a larger three-phase plan could also be revealed at the convention, which includes “ceasing of attacks, disarmament, social restoration and societal peace.”

Erdoğan plans changes to the management of the party

Along with the manifesto, the convention will also observe changes to party management, what Erdoğan called the “process of updating the organization.” “Cadres change at conventions,” Atalay confirmed yesterday without giving details. “But,” he said, “the spirit of change and of reform never dies in the AK Party.”

The addition of Numan Kurtulmuş and Süleyman Soylu, former leaders of two minor parties, was the most concrete development in terms of Erdoğan’s plan to renew his A-team. Kurtulmuş is expected to be appointed as the deputy leader responsible for political and legal affairs, considered to be the second man after the party leader. Kurtulmuş is also expected to take a position in the 50-seat Central Decision-making Council (MKYK). He might also be selected as the party spokesperson, replacing current deputy leader Hüseyin Çelik.

Despite expectations, Erdoğan will likely set up a balanced team consisting of both new and old faces but protecting the current spine of the party. Reserving 30 percent of the MKYK for women, Erdoğan’s team will consist of around 10 deputies who were elected to Parliament for the first time.
Given the fact that Erdoğan will no longer be party leader after his potential election as president in 2014, some concerns about the performance of the ruling party in the post-Erdoğan period have already been voiced. “Tayyip Erdoğan is surely very important. The charisma of Erdoğan is important for our party as the charisma of all leaders is important in Turkey. But we have a rule that does not allow the same people sitting in the same positions. There will be this change.” Atalay said.