By Ayşe Sozen, World Bulletin
The 4th Congress of the Justice and Development Party held on September, 30, 2012 with the great expectations of new openings in the fields of Kurdish question, democratization and the new civil constitution. In the squeeze of the drastic events of terrorist attacks and bitter influences of the Syrian crisis among the Turkish public, the Congress that was to elect the Prime Minister Erdoğan last time as the Party leader has become a glimmer of hope for the people. Increasing critics from the national and international media on the ten years government of Turkey especially on interrupted processes of democratization and the EU put additional pressure on the Party to renovate its policies and future projections. However, while the Congress failed to meet the anticipations accordingly, the Party leader focused on the new domestic design of the Party.
Under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Justice and Development Party came into power in 2002 when Turkey was in the great economic and political depression. In the economic crisis of 2001 annual inflation rates was 68,5percent, overnight interest rates reached to 1500percent, and unemployment rates became more than 11 percent. The three party coalition, on the other hand, lost all its trust and marked as politically corrupted amid people. The AK Party emerged on those dark days of Turkey with a huge optimism. In fact, the result was more than expectations. The political stability sustained under the single party government enabled the economy to recover. The new government also took a speed democratization reform process trough proclaiming its loyalty to the European Union policy of the classical Turkish Foreign Policy.
After ten years the JDP is preparing itself to the second ten years in the government. However, the next decade will represent the post-Erdoğan era in terms of the Party as he is expected to be the candidate for Presidency in 2014. For this reason the 4th Congress of the Party held a tremendous importance both for the future of the Party and the country.
One of the preeminent figures of the Party, Yalçın Akdoğan MP and the political advisor to the PM said that “AK Party will launch a new process with a new vision and envisagement on the future of Turkey” before the Congress has hold. He added “ [in the Congress] AK Party will update its policies from local governments to the EU, the Kurdish question to combating terrorism, foreign policy to economy, election system to minority rights”. Akdoğan’s highlights pointed out new openings in the new term of the AK Party. Renovation and revision were particularly emphasized by the Party senior staff.
However, the speech of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was limited with the “domestic concerns”. He addressed his Party members during the speech and greeted all the members of the Party from the founders to former MPs, old ministers to even the members who passed away. He envisaged his fellows, asked for his acceptance in their presence and endorsed his material and spiritual leadership in their conscience. The speech was excessively domestic which even enough to ask his acceptance from his family members; his wife, daughters, and sons.
Beside the speech, the structural change in the Executive Committee of the Decision Making has remained domestic. Erdoğan rather preferred to protect his Party spine with the old members and current ministers through letting them in the Committee. There are new-comers. But the new comers have never been referred as “new” but rather as “old friends” who are coming from the same roots of a single tree.
Numan Kurtulmuş, the former Chairman of the Has Party, has appeared in the Executive Committee of the Decision Making of the AK Party with his 11 friends together in the main list and the substitute list. Kurtulmuş represents leadership, trust, honesty, integrity, and political cleanness in his personal political history. So far his opposition has been against corruption and capitalist pragmatisms. He seems loyal to his Islamist past with his views on plurality and minority rights which are not statist.
Erdoğan’s speech would have not meet the expectations but the new recruitments in the Party may designate new openings in the policies due to the above mentioned characteristics of the new members of the AK Party. The Congress, on the other hand, has not nourished the hopes that the country needs urgently.Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Ekim 2012, 13:40