Taha Akyol in Hürriyet writes that the new AKP is much more than ever before under the control of Erdoğan. One of the leading names of the party told me this on the phone the other day: “None of the names that Davutoğlu insisted on having on the party leadership was included in the list. Meanwhile, names that he emphatically did not want were all included in the list.” It is obvious that the same will go for the candidate lists for the election. After Abdullah Gül, Bülent Arınç has also been purged, and the founding cadres of the party have been neutralized. From now on, there will be no more different voices; there are few names left that can warn, and who can express societal diversity within the party. Of those who “departed,” Ali Babacan and Mehmet Şimşek were names who defended the independence of the Central Bank, economic rationality and European norms. Of the symbolic names, Sadullah Ergin and Osman Can are out of the list. Ergin was the architect of the judicial reforms that brightened the face of Turkey. Professor Osman Can meanwhile, was a lawyer who had made a career with his liberal views and who defended the EU’s legal framework. And speaking of the law, it is an important sign that the person who headed the mob that attacked the Hürriyet newspaper was elected to board of the party at the congress. And most importantly, the question is what kind of leverage a government who is headed by a prime minister who could not select his team and the party group in parliament is going to have!
Ali Bayramoğlu in Yeni Şafak writes that political rumor before AKP’s congress had it that Davutoğlu would like to have included liberal names who have been critical of recent AKP policies, such as Ali Babacan, Bülent Arınç, Mehmet Şimşek, Sadullah Ergin and Beşir Atalay, in the party leadership. It was also claimed that Erdoğan was distanced to these names, and that he preferred others, close to him, and whose names are not associated with the fraternity [of Fethullah Gülen.] Insofar as Davutoğlu failed to pay attention to intra-party balances, he provoked the reaction of names like Binali Yıldırım, while many turned to Erdoğan, asking him to take charge of the situation. When Davutoğlu accepted these conditions, nearly sixty percent of the names in his list were replaced, and the final decider in the process was the president. Three conclusions can be drawn from this story. First, Davutoğlu did not succeed in his attempt to enlarge his sphere of autonomy. Second, insofar as the list that Davutoğlu presented led to his isolation within the party, it invited Erdoğan to enter the game. Third, this congress has shown that Erdoğan, alongside that he as president is taking an active role within the field of the executive, is also de facto imposing the model of “partisan presidency” by very openly assuming the function as the final decider of the internal affairs of a political party.
By Gareth H. Jenkins
September 18th, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
The recent spate of violent protests by Turkish ultranationalists – including attempted lynchings of ethnic Kurds -- and the attacks by government supporters on the Hürriyet newspaper have reinforced already serious concerns about both the deepening fissures in Turkish society and the continuing weakening of the rule of law in the country.
Ertuğrul Özkök in Hürrriyet writes that the speech that the new Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Akar delivered on Victory Day August 30 is the most interesting one in recent years. Reading the speech, I noted many interesting things – the rise of the references to being “Turkish.” The expression “Turk” is mentioned in fourteen different places. The definition of the “Turkish hearth” is made in especially stark terms: The speech states that the battle at Manzikert in 1071 confirmed “Anatolia as the Turkish hearth.” And the most notable expression is the way General Akar refers to our state, as “Turkish Republic.”. I looked up the constitution at the official site of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey: There, the official expression reads “The constitution of the Republic of Turkey…” In our system, in two very important places, the expression “Turkey,” and not “Turkish” is employed: “The Grand National Assembly of Turkey” and “The Republic of Turkey…” And that is indeed very right.
Korkut Boratav on the sendika.org site writes that there is a curious expectation among liberal and some leftist circles that Turkey, because it is supposedly one of the most fragile of the emerging markets, faces the threat of the desertion of financial capital as the world economy has become volatile, and that this is supposedly going to bring about the end of the AKP power. First of all, there is no ground for saying that the fragility of the Turkish economy is bound to produce an immediate crisis. Secondly, financial capital is not against the AKP. In the current global economic conjuncture, Turkey is in fact in a more favorable position than the energy exporting economies of the periphery like Russia that are especially hard hit. Turkey on the contrary benefits from the fall of the price of oil, which helps to slow down the growth of its current account deficit; the low budget deficit ensures that Turkish state bonds remain reliable instruments of investment. Chronic vulnerabilities do cause the Turkish economy to slow down during 2015, leading it toward a path of zero growth; however, the expectation of a dramatic crisis erupting before the election does not seem realistic. And what about the political uncertainties that the AKP causes? What about the possibility of Turkey becoming an Islamic fascist regime? Does finance capital care? The AKP’s string of electoral and referendum victories have led finance capital to pour money into the Turkish stock market and into Turkish state bonds.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.