June 16, 2014

Failed policy!

Ali Bulaç

The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has not adopted Islam as a reference or source of identity in its policies.

Therefore, neither Islam nor Islamism is responsible for its policies. However, it is not possible to argue that at least two variations of Islamist stances are not responsible: those who have made great efforts to come to power and have taken advantage of it at the first opportunity, and those who conclude that the secular order can be utilized until Islamist actors gain greater strength.

We can list the reasons for the current state of affairs in Turkey under the rule of the AK Party as follows:

1 -- They made impossible promises to the US and Israel when they came to power in 2002. Their grave mistake was that they made bold commitments at the beginning; they could have done this honorable mission without claiming to represent the Ottoman legacy through leadership of the region, but their ideology did not allow them to do this.

2 -- After the 2011 elections, they broke their pact with social, intellectual and political circles; they thought that the AK Party was all about their support base rather than a coalition and that this support base made the AK Party the ruler of the country. They parted ways with democrats and liberals.

3 -- The common desire of groups supporting the AK party was a new civilian constitution. The Sept. 12, 2010 referendum, the election of Abdullah Gül as president and the 2011 elections confirmed this. However, leading AK Party figures suspended the work of making a new constitution, implying that the current constitution would work for them. Without a new constitution, chronic problems have remained unresolved.

4 -- No significant improvements have been experienced in social or economic policies. Income inequality is becoming more severe; retired people are having difficult times; the homes of poor people are taken from them as part of urban transformation plans; social cohesion is disrupted. Marriage is no longer popular; a conservative group of consumers has emerged; they have attracted the resentment of the people. There are rumors about corruption, and charges are not effectively investigated.

5 -- As they thought that they had become a center-right party, they developed a doctrine by which they decided to generate a community that would stand against the Hizmet movement, their most constructive partner over the last decade. They first decided to shut down the exam preparatory schools; this attempt was met with a reaction; then they cooperated with those who wanted to reestablish the secular order in response to the corruption and bribery operations. They relied on a discourse that suggested that the corruption operations wanted to overthrow the government. This is a broad and influential operation that has been initiated against all religious groups and communities, including the Hizmet movement; it is also against religiosity, which was promoted during the AK Party's term in office. They started with Hizmet; others are in line.

The AK Party has made huge mistakes; they have taken Turkey to a fairly dangerous point. Every society experiences problems and crises, but proper politics is the art of resolving these problems skillfully.

Published on Today's Zaman, 16 June 2014, Monday