Status: 24.03.2021 6:48 a.m.
At the AKP party congress that begins today, the party is to be sworn even more closely to President Erdogan. In which future he wants to lead Turkey, he showed beforehand.
By Oliver Mayer-Rüth,
Recep Tayyips Erdogan’s propagandists cheer in advance: Ibrahim Karagül, columnist of the Islamist government-affiliated newspaper “Yeni Safak” writes that the Turkish president will present nothing less than a manifesto at the party congress. Erdogan will set the direction of the country in the 21st century. In two years, when the state celebrates its 100th anniversary, Turkey will say goodbye to the shackles of the 20th century and become the central country of the world.
Mahmut Övür of the pro-government newspaper “Sabah” also believes that the AKP Congress could show what policies Erdogan will pursue in the coming months and whether the announced changes in the cabinet will take place. And with that, eyes are on the coming elections.
The past week showed what Erdogan is up to
The parliament and president in Turkey are not supposed to be redefined until 2023. But there are increasing signs that there could be new elections before the end of a calendar year. Thereupon, so it is said from AKP circles to the ARD, Erdogan wanted to align the party.
A new top should be elected, the tone and politics would become even more nationalistic. The AKP is a one-man show anyway and the only program is Erdogan’s retention of power.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a party meeting in February 2020.
In the last seven days he has impressively demonstrated how the AKP leader and president – his supporters like to call him “rice”, meaning head or leader – is trying to maintain power. On Thursday, the Prosecutor General’s office requested a ban on the pro-Kurdish party HDP. Erdogan had repeatedly accused the party of terrorism. A few hours before the application for a ban, parliamentarians from the AKP and the far-right MHP lifted the immunity of HDP MP Gergerlioglu. This advocated vehemently for human rights. Now he is said to have been behind bars for more than two years just for quoting a tweet.
On the night from Friday to Saturday, Erdogan let Turkey withdraw from the Istanbul Convention for the Protection of Women from Violence by decree. He also put the central bank chief Naci Agbal at the door, who helped the lira to stabilize by repeatedly raising the key interest rate, but thereby made loans more expensive for Turkish entrepreneurs and consumers.
Economic crisis and conflicting decisions
The ban on the HDP could bring Erdogan votes in elections in southeastern Turkey if, for example, left-wing HDP voters resignedly avoid the polls. He also accommodates the right-wing extremists of the MHP, who have wanted the HDP to be banned for some time. The withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention is a gift to religious fundamentalist circles who want to “protect women according to Turkish culture”, whatever that means. A new central bank chief is likely to reverse the rate hikes and thus give the pandemic-ridden companies air.
But what does all of this actually bring? Professor Özer Sencar, founder and head of the Metropoll opinion research institute, says Turkey’s difficult economic situation is the toughest mortgage for Erdogan and his AKP. Then there is Erdogan’s leadership: contradicting decisions are constantly being made. One example is that the head of the central bank has been replaced three times in the past 20 months.
According to Sencar, the AKP is currently 30-31 percent in surveys. If you divide the 20 percent of the undecided proportionally, the Erdogan party might be 38 percent. With the right-wing extremists of the MHP, it may be 47 percent together. That is no longer enough for an election.
Erdogan’s only advantage is that the opposition may not be able to agree on a common candidate, the pollster said. The President’s latest decisions, Sencar said, indicated that new elections would soon be held. The timing of a possible HDP ban could be decisive when choosing a date.
Professor Sencer considers the party congress to be a backdrop – because the party and Erdogan are one.
President Erdogan faces the grassroots: AKP party congress
Aydogan Makasci, ARD Istanbul, March 23, 2021 6:46 p.m.