ANKARA, Turkey – In a radical restructuring of the political scene in Turkey, but also in the transformation of the AKP into a completely personal party, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan goes on the road for the June elections, where no one seems to be able to prevent his victory, which will be the last a major turning point for the Turkish leader to be the one who will establish in 2023 the “New Turkey” he envisions.
In the endeavor that has been drawn by Mr. Erdogan he needs a completely controlled party, a mechanism loyal only to the leader and an organization without “weights” that could attempt to challenge and limit his absolute power.
In recent years, Tayyip Erdogan systematically cleansed or neutralized personalities with whom he has been traveling together for decades and has jointly elevated AKP as the initially spokesman of a moderate political Islamic party to a dominant force on Turkey’s political landscape.
Imam Fetullah Gullen, who contributed as much as anyone else to his AKP electoral victory since 2002, especially Erdogan’s victory over the Kemalist military diplomatic establishment, was isolated andfound himself and his followers to be the number one risk to Turkey’s national security.
- Mr Erdogan, however, took care to neutralize politically both AKP co-founders. Abdullah Gul, who served as President of the country and Prime Minister, as well as Bulent Arins, who was chairman of the National Assembly.
When Erdogan, who had already begun to control the mechanisms in a state and a party, felt that Mr. Gulen from the position of Turkish President and while he was prime minister did not support as much as he expected the transformation of the political system into a presidential and his own promotion to the position of the all-powerful, politically marginalized the co-founder of AKP and his personal friend.
Gulen is on the sidelines
Mr. Gulen preferred to stay on the sidelines and with rare interventions criticizing Erdogan either for the violent suppression of episodes in Geki Park or for revising the constitution and over-strengthening the powers of the president.
In order to neutralize Mr. Gul, he was recruited by a well-known scholar of ideological-political space that emerged in Turkey with Erbakan, Milli Gorus, Ahmet Davutoglu.
And when Ahmet Davutoglu himself was not so willing to become the bartender in the post of prime minister and with a chairman who apart from the constitutional framework also wanted to exercise the executive power (chairing the ministerial councils), Davutoglu followed on the sidelines of Mr. Gulen.
And his role was entrusted to Binali Yildirim, who proved to be better than anyone else in what Mr Erdogan wants his party to do. A party that will obey its leader without questions and suspensions.
Unfortunately the opposition felt that there was room for Gulen to be persuaded to be a front-runner of all the opposition parties. He knew that it would be a battle that was lost in the first place, since there would be many reactions from both the Kemalist, secular CHP and the extreme right-wing nationalist “Good Party” by Mr. Aksener.
- At the same time, he understood that a conflict with Erdogan would automatically cut him off from the vast mass of political space he had set up, and this would negate any future ambition of him being the alternative if Erdogan’s perilous steps and high-risk games with the West and Russia and the Middle East lead at some point to the end of his overseas.
That’s why it was not surprising that his decision, which he announced on Saturday, was not an election candidate.
Davutoglu, who met with Gulen last week, also announced that he supports the AKP, but at the same time revealed that he would no longer be a candidate for his re-election in the National Assembly. And as the Turkish media say, neither the ex-Tsar of the economy, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan nor Behir Atalay, who is considered to be the initiator of Erdogan’s great opening to the Kurds, who was deliberately interrupted with Turkey’s operations against the Kurds in Syria and the pogrom against the Kurdish HDP party and the municipalities controlled by Kurdish mayors in Southeast Turkey.
Wedding with the “Gray Wolves”
The abandonment of the Kurdish opening was the dowry for Tayyip Erdogan’s “marriage” with the far-right nationalist leader of the MHP and the Gray Wolves, Bahchelli, to which was added the small, even far-right “Party of Great Unity” BBP).
Thus top executives such as Davutoglu, A. Babacan, Thracian-born Mehmet Muezinoglu, Ismail Kahraman, Besir Atalay will not even go as candidates according to the “Hurriyet”.
Instead, MPs are expected to be elected, and Beirut Bozhaq, Ismet Yilmaz, Ahmet Arslam, Mevluth Tsavusoglu, Mehmet Oshashi, Lutfi Elvan, and Bulend Tuffenchi are expected to be elected in ministerial positions, according to Hurriyet and columnist Getzin. Other AKP executives will follow Erdogan in the presidential palace, which will now also exercise executive power, while some other executives will be candidates for municipal elections to control large cities, as Mr Erdogan, in the context of clearances in the inside his party, he also “forsaked” AKP mayors in Ankara and Istanbul and in several other cities.
All of these plans will of course make sense under one single condition: that there will be no surprises in the Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections. Because not only is Mr Erdogan elected in the presidential election.
- The AKP-MHP coalition must also win parliamentary elections. Why else would an opposition National Assembly try to revise the constitution in a first move. Movement that will lead to unpredictable involvement of Turkey.
But perhaps to avoid all this, Mr. Erdogan takes – as any good aspirant dictator – his “measures” on time … *
Translated from Hellas Journal.