The AK Party after its congress

The AK Party, after acting as the ruling power for 13 years without an interval, signaled in the fifth party convention that it will make its preparations for the Nov. 1 elections by taking into consideration a reformation of the party

 

The organization of the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) fifth ordinary general congress before the Nov. 1 elections had only one meaning: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not want a debate regarding the administration within the party and used his influence in favor of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. But it turned out that just before the congress some signatures were collected for Binali Yıldırım's candidacy for party chairmanship and the required number of signatures was reached. At that point Erdoğan intervened and came up with a reconciliation scheme that could be accepted by all sides. As a result, although the names on the Central Decision and Administrative Board (MKYK) mainly have the stamp of Erdoğan's influence, the majority of the board consists of figures that no one can object to. However, many important people in the party will not be in the party administration this term. It should also be taken into account, however, that ministers can be assigned to the board and others can be elected in place of them after the elections.

 

To summarize the political meaning of the congress, it should firstly be underlined that Erdoğan has overt authority and a position of arbitration in the party. Apparently, Erdoğan has gained a supra-political attribute in the AK Party, which he made functional in terms of party administration. So the possibility of submitting all kinds of tense situations within the party to Erdoğan has increased for the near future and the institutionalization of this situation in time would not be a surprise at all. However, the second result of the congress indicates that Erdoğan may be apt to use this considerable authority carefully. Davutoğlu rose up as a leader without an alternative to bring the AK Party into future, and the extent of Erdoğan's area of movement within the party stems from this choice to a great extent. Some figures and groups that might compete with Davutoğlu withdrew from the race in return for MKYK seats. Thirdly, it was affirmed at this congress that the party shifted to a coalitional structure between convention and future, old and new, right wing and innovation. The eclectic structure of the MKYK carried this situation to the senior offices. Accordingly, the fourth result is that the restoration that is needed in the party's organizational structure will go slow for a while and the concerns of integrity within the party particularly stand out in the run up to the elections. If there is an AK Party success in the elections we can presume that this restoration will be delayed for a longer while due to the relative success of the organization. But if the AK Party does not succeed, restoration will again be delayed to a further phase since Davutoğlu's hand would be weakened.

 

As a result, this balance administration produced with Erdoğan's intervention might enable the AK Party to focus on the elections with all its strength by ruling out the problems that might arise in the short run. But the party, which has shown the inevitable symptoms of fatigue after acting as the ruling power for 13 years without an interval, is now in need of both creating a well-calculated leap and disengagement, recovering its founding principles. However, the MKYK list at the congress muddies the preservation of durability and the production of new energy for cooperation from these fragmental associations.

 

Consequently, the AK Party will not only be given an election test in the short process ahead. It will also be revealed how far the integrity within the party will go in this structure and with this cadre. On the other hand, it cannot be asserted that this test only interests Davutoğlu. Erdoğan is also facing the same test and the situation requires both politicians to create stronger cooperation. As such, there is a third test to see whether the relation between Erdoğan and Davutoğlu can create synergy in terms of the administration of the party and that of the country, or it will turn into a disadvantage. The outcomes of these tests are interdependent and everything seems to be up to the Nov. 1 election results.

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