MuMTAZER – AK Party’s identity

AK Party’s identityLeaders and their parties may not necessarily support each other sometimes they compete with each other One may become more popular while the otherand#39s popularity declines.The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party)ame to power only one year after it was established and it has been in office for 12 years.

It is only 13 years old and as it grew older, it felt the ever-increasing weight and influence of Recep Tayyip ErdoIan.Initially, there were four prominent figures in the party.

ErdoIan was primus inter pares. Abdullatif Iener left the part during the 2007 crisis.

Abdullah Gul became ineffective after he was elected president. The partyand#39s wise guy, Bulent ArIn, was overshadowed by ErdoIan.

The AK Party as a brand started to decline particularly after the 2011 elections as ErdoIan came to dominate the political identity of the party. The party naturally relied on ErdoIanand#39s personality during the presidential election.

Today, as ErdoIan is leaving his office as the chairman of the AK Party, ErdoIanism is overwhelming the AK Partyand#39s identity.In a political scene that lacks established democratic conventions, leaders tend to use all opportunities for popularity to boost their own image instead of their partyand#39s institutional identity.

Although it had experienced staff and organizational power, the AK Party used all its institutional background to lend extra support and power to ErdoIan as a person. As broad masses tend to focus on leadersand#39 gestures and mimicries instead of political partiesand#39 institutional mechanisms, it was not very hard to create a cult of ErdoIan.

Oligarchic tendencies that emerge in all apparently democratic mass organizations further increased ErdoIanand#39s personal popularity. ErdoIanism as a political identity has left the adherence to the AK Party out in the cold.

This is like the relationship between the militants with political affiliations and sympathizers. The real situation will grow into a big contradiction because ErdoIan will leave the party.

This contradiction will post the most fundamental problem both for the person who will become the partyand#39s chairman and prime minister after ErdoIan as well as for ErdoIan, who will be acting as president. It will further make an impact on the new era and balances of Turkish political life.

ErdoIanand#39s quest for power, which is unsatisfied with the symbolic powers and authorities of a president, is backed by popular support that relies on his personality. ErdoIan tries to expand these powers and authorities using this support.

This contradiction is like a loose cannon inside the AK Party. In the final analysis, the AK Party is the source of all the power and force.

It is the AK Party that controls the legislature and the executive. Since Dec.

17, 2013, it also controls the judiciary. The opposition parties are left outside this power game.

As the military, the media, big capitalists and civil society organizations do not have any visible effect on politics, competing actors are confined to the AK Party. It follows that ErdoIanand#39s ambitions to expand the presidential powers and authorities will grow as an internal problem for the AK Party.

Naturally, the AK Partyand#39s identity will differentiate from ErdoIanism The process will invariably be characterized as a contention between the AK Party-ists and ErdoIanists. ErdoIan may be willing to throw all this support behind the AK Party, but it is impossible for the party to conduct an election campaign for 2015 with songs mentioning the name of ErdoIan.

The new government will assert its power against ErdoIan.The main opposition Republican Peopleand#39s Party (CHP) will hold a party congress.

But the real power-opposition competition will be between the AK Party-ists and ErdoIanists. ErdoIanand#39s influence will inevitably diminish and the partyand#39s identity will become dominant.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman