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.
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!
Abdülkadir Selvi in Yeni Şafak writes that the Erdoğan-Davutoğlu agreement prevented a big danger for the AKP. At least, they did not allow the virus of “two lists” and “two candidates” to enter the body. Nonetheless, it would have been better if the AKP had not gone through an incident like this at all, which has no place in its tradition. History shows that when parties that symbolize stability lose their stability, Turkey loses its stability. Süleyman Demirel said that “My biggest political error was not preventing the split of the AP (in 1970), and not preventing the departure of those who formed the Democratic Party.” For the time being, the danger has been averted. How nice it was that the prime minister sent a message to the eleventh president Abdullah Gül in his speech. It is crucial that the status of names like Bülent Arınç, Ali Babacan, Taner Yıldız, Hüseyin Çelik, Sadullah Ergin and Beşir Atalay who were left out in the process now is preserved. To protect the unity of the AKP is absolutely crucial. Because we don’t know what awaits the AKP after the election. Since Gezi, people have become very divided. The most important thing that the AKP can do is to embrace our people. But first, AKP needs to be embracive internally.
Etyen Mahçupyan in Akşam writes that AKP’s historical mission, simply put, was to bring those who had been excluded to power. This meant democratization, and the reconstruction of the center by the periphery. It is clear that the Kurdish issue and the solution process had a crucial function. What solution means is that what is “new” advances one more step, that one more strike is dealt at the resistance of the “old.” Lack of a solution, meanwhile, will be the harbinger of the failure of what is “new,” a sign that it is about to surrender to the “old.” For the AKP, making the advance toward a solution required distancing itself from the statist, “Turkish” nationalism, and the AKP’s understanding of religiosity supplied a suitable social and ideological basis for the new orientation. The best way of derailing the AKP’s reformism is to end the solution process. What will be the choice of the AKP in a situation when everyone else either wants to have the “old” back or – as in the case of HDP – has no influence left? Hang on to the “old?” Or carry the “new” itself?
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.