President rewards some figures from AK Party’s past with appointments.. What does this signify?


Two figures from the founding team of AK Party have been assigned some important posts by President Tayyip ErdoğanBülent Arınç has become the member of the High Advisory Council of the Presidency, a recently formed advisory body. According to the news, Abdülkadir Aksu, another name from the same founding team, has been chosen as the head of  the Executive Board of VakıfBank.

Both of these people were being kept away from the administrative posts in the government and the party for some time.

Some people seem to be upset about this initiative of Erdoğan. Those, who gushed over these two men -and others as well who were in the same position of neglect by the President- are now angry because they feel to be thrown a curve by this attempt for endowing  Arınç and Aksu with prestige, and they reveal their anger. It is understandable that some dissident voices within or around the party unhappy about losing so-called comrades also look adversely at this sharp turn in Erdoğan’s conduct.

Them and Ahmet Davutoğlu…

In fact, Erdoğan’s initiative and the positive responses of Bülent Arınç and Abdülkadir Aksu to accept these new positions are both correct.

Arınç and Aksu have never really moved away from the party, not a bit. They seemed to be discontent because they were kept away from important positions. People who thought of these two figures as ‘dissidents‘ were actually wrong.

So, nothing is surprising about the positive responses of these two to the  ‘invitation‘.

There are a few others in the same position. I think these people too would react positively if they are offered positions suitable for their personalities and expectations.


For instance, former prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who published a ‘manifesto‘ a while ago and now touring some cities by sharing his thoughts at fast-breaking meals in Ramadan [the month of fasting, prayer and reflection -TN] is one of them. He somehow reveals that he wishes his voice to be heard and his thoughts to be taken seriously. He will add some extra value to the High Advisory Council of the Presidency if he is invited and responds to the invitation positively.

Davutoğlu put his signature under many of the policies that have been followed by the existing government. He was in a powerful position to determine policies in every field after he became prime minister in 2014. Prior to that, he held the responsibility in shaping foreign affairs of Turkey as the Foreign Minister.

What policies being followed today are mostly the ones initiated by Davutoğlu

Giving him some sort of administrative place within the party or in presidential boards will clear up a number of misunderstandings, and prevent some effort and labor going down the drain as a result of an unnecessary attempt for him to build a separate political party.

Who would go, and who would stay?

Let me remind my view once again: The President is doing the right thing by giving some assignments to these people who seem to have been unable to root their love for AK Party out their hearts. Positive response of these people to his invitation is correct, too…

It is almost impossible to know whom others Erdoğan’s invitation may be extended; but new convergences prior to the Istanbul election that implies crucial importance to AK Party would not surprise me at all.

Having said that, I don’t expect such an invitation would comprise everyone who previously held an administrative post in the party or the government. I also think that some of such individuals would not respond positively if they received an invitation.


Who would not and why?

Some of the founders or leading figures of AK Party think that the party needs a radical change, and anything but a ‘return to factory settings‘ [a phrase referring to founding ideals and principles of the party -TN] would simply mean an effort for keeping up appearances. These people are convinced that ‘return to factory settings‘ is not possible any more due to the fact that AK Party has undergone a dramatic change from top to bottom, and some insignificant reassignments would mean nothing other than a window dressing exercise.

Yes, it is known that such a group exists, and they are constantly encouraged to take a clear stand by people who are mostly young and new in politics, and attach importance to the founding principles of the old AK Party.

AK Party: yesterday and today

AK Party was founded during a process of political-economic turmoil in Turkey, and embarked on a thorough program that planned the future without overlooking the necessities of the time. Its founding documents reflect this goal.

Expansion of fundamental rights and freedoms, hence undertaking to carry out the accession negotiations with the European Union on the basis of the principle of equality and with a particular emphasis on the Copenhagen criteria, developing strong relations with cross-border countries that were previously neglected, prioritizing distribution of wealth to wider sections of society, initiating lasting reforms in the sectors of education, agriculture and justice were among the main goals, and these goals would be reached at through ‘shared wisdom‘.

This was why AK Party drew considerable attention and support, and came through each election with a higher vote rate.

More importantly, several circles in the West and the East who were looking at Turkey as a ‘hopeless case‘ started to follow positive developments in the country brought about by AK Party with a rising interest. The more they witnessed positive outcome of the steps taken, the more effort they showed to develop closer relations with Turkey by providing more loans and investments. 

Even targets of that period were quite ambitious and different. While Turkey was moving upward in all human development indexes, it was rapidly moving downward in lists of reprimand published by institutions that closely follow deteriorations in social and economic situations of countries around the world…

The claim, “We are the seventh largest economy in the world, and we will grow further” would sound convincing to many ears.

Today, we stand on a different spot.

The very agent of progress in the much-praised period was AK Party, and the responsibility of today’s Turkey which appears to be faltering before the challenges the country faces falls on the shoulders of AK Party, too…

Would assigning some positions to some political figures who held responsibilities during the smooth-sailing period help to change the present situation for better?

I think this was the reason why that such a move was initiated with the news assignments of Bülent Arınç and Abdülkadir Aksu. The people who would know best whether or not such an initiative would prove to be effective are those who are still kept away from administrative posts in AK Party

The former leading figures, who believe “Things will go better if the high-ranking party officials of the golden age are called back” would respond positively to invitations while others who have lost faith in the AK Party’s present situation are expected to continue staying away, and keep seeking different solutions for the problems that the country faces.


[Translated by Bernar Kutluğ from the the article appeared in this site’s Turkish section on May 28, 2019]