Years ago, Politico, one of the most important American magazines, published an article about Turkey. The article was about the balance of power in the country. The premise was that the power diagram in Turkey was composed of three vectors. First, there was President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) as active forces in civil politics, the second power was the military elite, and the third vector was the Gülenist Terrorist Group (FETÖ). According to the magazine’s predictions, which of these powers eliminates the others will determine Turkey’s future.
By publishing such an article, Politico magazine probably defined the powers as friends and foes, as is the general approach of the United States.
NATO as a tool of government
It is a little-known fact that after World War II, the United States tied most European states, such as Germany, Italy and others, to itself through a military tutelage using the NATO concept. Although Turkey was not on the losing side of the war, it was linked to the United States through military tutelage by means of the military coup of 1960. This tutelage was renewed by new coups d’etat each time it weakened. In 1997, the declaration of February 28, widely known as the “postmodern coup”, forced the government to resign. It was later clear that FETÖ never had any civilian plans. The objective of the terrorist organization was to take over the country by employing military forces, such as those who staged coups in the name of the United States. Again, the common public opinion came later that FETÖ never wanted to rule the country but to prepare for its invasion.
In 10 years, the government of the AKP party and its leader, Erdoğan, defeated the other two mentioned vectors of power and reliably delivered the country to civil politics. Turkey has regained its strength by overcoming many incidents such as the bombing of its parliament and the fight against terrorist organizations. Eventually, Turkey became not only strong but also well aware of the limits of its power.
Therefore, Politico magazine’s prophecy came true and Erdoğan succeeded in shaping today’s Turkey.
Domestic and foreign policy
The level of genius of the AKP party government in domestic politics became clear in the first 10 years as a struggle unfolded mainly inside the country. The AKP party has spearheaded a revolutionary success story in domestic politics.
The position and attitude of the new Turkey regarding its rights on the international scene at that time were not so clear. Turkey’s exemplary foreign policy was more evident when conflicts of interest with Western states arose. Each counter-struggle allowed Turkey to become progressively stronger. The AKP party government has achieved foreign policy achievements in the second decade of its rule. Like the ingenious work done in domestic policy in the first decade, the AKP Party government achieved successes in foreign policy in the second decade.
The 2023 Turkish presidential elections are scheduled. As has been the case for the past 20 years, opposition parties have not been able to wield much influence. They have no vision for the future. Thus, with the election, the AKP party is likely to be the most effective vehicle for Turkey’s future.
Two problems appear before the government: first, the opposition, which has strengthened itself against the Popular Alliance by making alliances on the way to the elections; the second, the cost of living.
No crisis in the past 20 years has had such an impact on the AKP party government. The AKP Party has never taken seriously the existing cultural and intellectual criticisms of the opposition. The high cost of living has also enhanced the effectiveness of non-economic criticism of the opposition. Until recently, the AK party was able to keep public support behind it without hurting itself.
Since the day of its foundation, the AKP Party has been rational. It would not be wrong to say that it was the party that brought rationality to Turkish politics. The AKP Party governments continue their beneficial investments as they have always done and do not slow down even if the political return of these investments during the elections is negligible.
For two years, the pandemic has created economic imbalances around the world. Once we declared the end of the pandemic, the Russian-Ukrainian war began in our region. Meanwhile, all states in the world are trying to deal with this situation in their own way.
There has been no energy crisis or disruption in the supply chain of food and other basic commodities in Turkey. However, the abnormal price increase is similar to examples in the rest of the world. Inflation is very high and exchange rates are rising out of control. This situation is harmful.
The government maintains its rationality in all areas and takes measures, including reasonable measures in the economy.
The AK party must impress on its voters that the government is taking “rational” steps in the economy as global conditions permit. If this can be achieved, it will provide a significant advantage in winning the 2023 elections, because the biggest opponent of the AKP party in the elections is the cost of living.