ORHAN KEMAL – How and why Gul was left out of the picture

How and why Gul was left out of the pictureAs soon as Abdullah Gul, the current president of Turkey who will soon be replaced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIan, made a declaration stating that he wants to return to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to continue his political career after completing his presidential term, a vicious lynching campaign began on social mediaThe first salvo came from an AK Party deputy who said “Gul is making irresponsible statements.” This statement was followed by quite an intensive debasement campaign on Twitter targeting Gul and his career All of these hostile messages came from sympathizers close to ErdoIan’s circle.

They are called AK trolls. How do we know they are close to ErdoIan’s circle? Because many times we have seen these AK troll messages retweeted by ErdoIan’s consultants, aisers and other government officials.

It was unbelievable to see that one of the founders of the AK Party and the president of this country had instantly become a hated figure within a matter of hours just for saying that he would return to his party.The debasement campaign targeting Gul has been strikingly similar to those that used to take place in the Communist party in the countries of the former Soviet Union.

Stalin had a great many of his comrades who had joined and fought for the revolution in Russia declared “traitors” when they were no longer of use or he ceased trusting them Once they were “icons” and overnight they turned into “spies” and “enemies of the people.”And, in this sense, I believe, the psychological lynching campaign targeting Gul is just another worrisome sign of how Turkey is slipping into authoritarianism and totalitarianismAnd, of course, the killing blow came from the prime minister himself.

He politely said that “it is quite natural for Gul to return his party” but fixed the date of the party’s extraordinary convention in which the AK Party will choose its next chairperson for Aug. 27, one day before Gul’s last day in office.

It is clear that this date was decided upon to ensure that Gul will not be able to be a candidate for the chairmanship of the party. We have never seen the AK Party hold a convention in the middle of the week, but this time it was decided to have it on Wednesday instead of Saturday or Sunday, as they have done since the party’s inception.

These recent developments are quite concerning on their own, but they also paint a gloomy picture for the country: ErdoIan will never allow normalization regarding the separation of powers. He will never leave any room for others to take initiative, never give up being “the man.

”If Gul became the chairperson of the AK Party, and later on prime minister of the country, this would greatly help normalization of Turkey. This is because Gul is a figure who can utilize his own initiative and would reject any interference with his authority.

It really is a pity that the AK Party, at least for the time being, seems to have wasted quite an efficient “exit strategy” for itself and for the country. ErdoIan wants to collect all state and political power into his own hands, which promises endless tensions, conflicts and a hasty retreat in democratic standards.

This is, indeed, an ominous development.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman