Column: New breakthrough era in the AK Party: Democracy, transformation, reform

Yasin AktayBY: Yasin Aktay*

The Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) third extraordinary congress is going to be held tomorrow. Although the AK Party, first established 16 years ago, held no extraordinary congress in its first 14 years, it squeezed in exactly three extraordinary congresses in to the last two years. Hence, some may think about comparing the extraordinary ones with the general assemblies.

It should be noted that the extraordinariness of the AK Party congresses is not the result of an argument, dispute or conflict within the party. In the AK Party, congresses develop as a natural result of the politics under the party’s own control.

Its first extraordinary congress was held as a result of the party chairman’s election as president, upon which his relation to the party was ended as required by the Constitution. The second one was held for the handover of this duty within the party with the consensus of delegations. As for the current one, it is based on the result of the most comprehensive reform in the system of administration in the country’s history, led by the AK Party.

With the reform that was accepted by the people on April 16, 2017, the obligation of the president to sever ties with his own party has been lifted and politics has returned to its own nature. Politics, in its essence, is to have a thesis, an argument, a cause; it is to call to that cause and to be on its side. Wanting a president chosen by the people to have no side is, in reality, dooming politics from the very start to a huge lie, asking those who seek to be in politics to give up their own theories.

This two-faced style of politics has now become history with the constitutional amendment. Now, as a natural result of this, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the founding leader of the AK Party, who has made an almost silent revolution in Turkey for the last 15 years, is returning to his party, which he was made to officially leave on Aug. 24, 2014. We say “officially,” because everybody actually sees that these official ties were unable to prevent the ties of affection and could not stop Erdoğan from being the AK Party’s founding and directing leader.

Hence, even the extraordinary congresses in the AK Party are experienced like an exciting festival of the changes the AK Party is making in Turkey, like their initial implementation and declaration.

The AK Party’s third extraordinary congress slogan has been determined as “New Breakthrough Era, Democracy, Transformation, Reform.”

The AK Party, which was been the ruling party under Erdoğan’s leadership for the past 15 years, is a party that has built the new Turkey with all its institutes and habits, and has put Turkey through a radical transformation. The performance demonstrated in terms of democratization deserves to be called a “silent revolution” in the perfect sense.

Unfortunately, the majority of these steps in democratization being exploited by terrorist organizations, primarily by the Fetullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has severely impeded our process of democratization. The AK Party, despite this, is not a party that will ever give up its goal to achieve a level of democratization that will not risk the country’s security either. Because, ever since the beginning, its reason for being has been the improvement of rights and freedoms in Turkey and reaching and protecting the level of democracy our nation deserves.

Reaching this level requires a serious will to transform. There is transformation that simply happens on its own even without any intervention. This is what sociology imposes and requires from the politician. Even if the politician is unable to meet this demand, the society will continue to change on its own and immediately throw outside of the track the politician who is left behind this change.

However, there is an established order and culture protected through established political habits, through institutional structures and, if you have big goals, you cannot get beyond being an ordinary politician without fighting against these, without changing these.

The problems Turkey suffered were not simple problems. If the existence of these problems have turned into livelihood for certain circles both within and without, touching on them from time to time may require you to take on the world. The attacks, the coup attempts experienced by the AK Party since coming to power represent the resistance of the national or global powers that have been awoken while answering the people’s desire for change.

If the AK Party never touched on these matters, it may not have been vilified as much, as an ordinary political party of Turkey, its leaders may have been more accepted in certain circles. Yet, in a Turkey and a world where so much injustice and corruption exists, it is impossible to change anything if you remain on the boundaries of being an “ordinary politician.” By seeming to make changes, while making do with changing the surface alone, one may possibly achieve Nobel awards and even gain the recognition of powers that have sovereignty over the world and Turkey. However, the demand for real change requires touching on the core of the problem and this requires courage and will.

The AK Party, led by Erdoğan, has shown to those who are responsible for the world’s skewed order, the demand, will and courage to change and, from time to time, it got into a struggle with them and made those powers step back. It may have lost those powers’ kind reception and sympathy in doing this, but it increased its kind reception and sympathy in the eyes of the nation in folds.

As a result, the AK Party has been the point of those who have dared to change and make the transformation. It would be right to call this AK Party-style politics.

With this style of politics, AK Party will be entering a new breakthrough era. May it bring goodness and benefit to Turkey and the world.

*Yasin Aktay is the vice chair of the ruling Justice and Development (AK Party) in Turkey.

(Published in Yeni Şafak Turkısh newspaper on May 20,  2017)