Mehmet Ali writes from Ankara: The congress of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has re-elected Recep Tayyip Erdogan as leader.
Mr Erdogan had delivered a two and a half hour speech that remarkably included four poetry readings and a bit of singing. The text alone ran up to 85 pages. (Eat you heart out Tony Blair.) It was not really a congress in the usual meaning of the word. Erdogan was the only speaker from his party and he used it to trumpet his and his party’s success over the last ten years. The presidency in Turkey is comparable to that in Germany but Erdogan would like to see it transformed into something like the US and French presidencies. Therein lies a problem. That would require a new constitution. Turkey is at a cross roads. Will the AKP develop into something similar to the Syrian or Iraqi Baath party? In other words gradually swallow up other parties until there is no opposition left.
The AKP now has an absolute majority in parliament. This means it no longer needs to negotiate with opposition parties and public intellectuals. When it came into government a decade ago the military and judiciary were formidable obstacles to its policies. They objected to its pro-Islamist drift. They wished Turkey to remain a secular republic and not to become an Islamic state. Recently three top generals were sent to prison for plotting against the government. This followed guilty verdicts against more than 300 military officers. So the military and judicial roadblocks have been cleared.
Erdogan is the strong man of Turkish politics. He is rumoured to be suffering from cancer. Many Turks would like to see him attempt to transform the AKP into a Muslim Democratic Party. Rather like a European Christian Democratic Party.
Stirring Trouble Internationally - (A humorous take on news and current affairs).
- Turkey's Erdogan sets the stage for presidential bid (dailystar.com.lb)
- Erdogan Sets Stage for Turkey's Future (voanews.com)
- Kurds Killing Off Their Best Chance Yet Of Getting Concessions From The Turkish Government (stirringtrouble.wordpress.com)
- Turkey's Erdogan re-elected as party leader (dailystar.com.lb)
- Turkey's Ruling Party Celebrates Hamas (commentarymagazine.com)
- Turkish party endorses Erdogan's 'example' for Islamist democracies (cnn.com)