When the Justice and Development Party (AKP) was founded in 2002, it inherited the organized cadres of the Welfare Party. The majority of the electorate trusted the AK Party primarily because these cadres represented one of the most experienced, disciplined, honest and hardworking generations in the country. They have achieved good results in the metropolitan municipalities of Istanbul, Ankara, Diyarbakir, Konya, Kayseri and other cities.
The vision of Social Welfare Party leader Necmettin Erbakan for industrial development was inherited by these cadres, becoming one of the main goals of the AKP Party. Believing in Turkey’s potential to become one of the rising stars of the 21st century, they contributed to the exceptional success of President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄan in the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.
Although the majority of the population sympathized with the political cadres of the Welfare Party, a significant number of voters worried about their religious position. To deal with this anxiety, ErdoÄan as party leader moderated the AK party cadres by incorporating nationalists, liberals and even socialists into its conservative core. Thanks to ErdoÄan’s political strategies, the AK Party has become an inclusive political party, increasing its vote rate from 34% to 50%.
Drawing on their invaluable experience in municipalities, AKP party political cadres conscientiously tackled the country’s major problems. First and foremost, the AKP party leadership focused its energy on making huge public investments in terms of infrastructure and city management. Having resolved long-standing problems in these areas, they began to grapple with the ongoing military tutelage over civilian policy and the deteriorating relationship with the European Union.
As the AKP party struggled to maintain Turkey’s economic growth, it had to overcome resistance from the traditional regime. The influence of the military and bureaucratic cadres of the main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) on the state structure, had to be reversed in order to overcome their resistance against the party’s political, economic and cultural reforms. AK. Thanks to Turkey’s candidacy for the European Union, the AKP party has succeeded in weakening the long-standing military tutelage in Turkey.
Adopting a multidimensional and multilateral foreign policy, Turkey’s independent position in international politics has led the main players in the world system to clash with the AKP party. Despite its penetration into the depths of state structure, the spy network of the Gulenist Terrorist Group (FETÃ) was however liquidated from the civil and military bureaucracy. Nonetheless, Turkey’s hard-won triumph over FETÃ created social and political trauma.
Under ErdoÄan’s leadership, the AK Party has become the most effective organization in the history of modern Turkey. Due to the establishment of a complicated communication network, even the most microscopic demands of the voters were transmitted to the top of the state structure. Turning these contributions into concrete policies, the AKP party continues to be the dominant political party in Turkey.
This magical communication between the AKP party leadership and the electorate was compromised after ErdoÄan became president. As the head of the AK party from 2014 to 2016, Ahmet DavutoÄlu transformed the party’s cadres in favor of his own political aspirations. Contrary to his character and disposition, ErdoÄan apparently became a neutral politician. Such a dramatic change in Turkey’s leadership has coincided with a troubled period in regional and international politics.
In our next column, we will complete this situation analysis of AKP Party politics by explaining how the AKP Party under the leadership of President ErdoÄan overcame Turkey’s internal and external problems since 2014. After explaining how a new political vision emerged from this troubled period. , we will discuss the AKP party’s next 20 year plan.