Evaluating the June 24 election victory from the balcony of the Justice and Development (AK) Party’s headquarters, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, “We received our nation’s message to our party. In the upcoming period, we will stand before our people having completed these deficiencies.”
It is an unwavering AK Party tradition: Despite having triumphed in all elections, the AK Party’s relevant boards comprehensively analyze the election results. They never say, “We won anyway, let’s not bother with numbers.” Every increase and decrease from the ballot boxes is analyzed. Effort is exerted to further increase success or detect what caused a decline in votes. There is no doubt that the June 24 elections, and especially the 42.56 percent vote rate that the AK Party received in parliament will be analyzed in every aspect. Surely the voters’ message to the AK Party will be evaluated in the best way possible and what is necessary will be done. It is correctly interpreting the people’s message and then doing what is necessary that has rendered the AK Party the biggest movement in Turkish politics, and what is going to keep it in the number one position for many more years to come.
Well, what did the voters say to the AK Party?
Economy: It is undeniable that the Turkish economy has been faced with an international attack, especially since May 2013. The foreign-backed internal attacks, from the Gezi Park events to Dec. 17-25, from Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorism to the July 15 Fetullah Terror Organization (FETÖ) coup attempt, have first and foremost impacted the economy. AK Party managed the economy despite the heavy attack and prevented the damage from affecting citizens. When it comes to the economy, voters usually do not like to hear excuses. The first message of the 42.56 percent vote rate that the AK Party received in parliament is regarding the economy. There is no doubt that the matter the AK Party needs to focus on the most and be the most sensitive about in the upcoming five-year period is the economy. Essentially, five years of stability will bring along rapid growth in the economy. Competence, discipline and independence sensitivity in managing the economy will also increase investments.
Foreign Policy: Could the U.S. have developed a more different relationship with Russia and the EU? Was a different approach possible in relation to the Syria, Iraq and Palestine matters? No. The AK Party has valiantly done and continues to do everything that is necessary in the name of Turkey’s independence, regional peace and counterterrorism. The necessary steps in foreign policy will also be taken without making any concessions to our principles, independence or our fight against terrorism. However, it is clear that voters want this to be conducted with more politics, diplomacy, and dialogue. The Turkish public and the AK Party share the same view on foreign policy. The people just want tensions to be alleviated. The AK Party will develop solutions for this as well.
The Kurdish (Kurds’) Matter: The AK Party receiving a 42.56 percent vote and the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) receiving an 11.7 percent vote indicates a clear message on the Kurdish or Kurds’ matter. This message is in no way a new Reconciliation Process message. The AK Party is the one that will stop the PKK’s politicization and ensure Kurds and other ethnic groups embrace the government a lot more. The AK Party and its leader Erdoğan courageously carried out this struggle for 16 years. It is Erdoğan and the AK Party who will enable us to walk toward the future under the same flag and on the same land as a single nation, as brothers, with a state we all own and further strengthen this sense of belonging. It appears that continuing a national struggle in which every member of the Republic of Turkey is a first class citizen, especially by keeping young generations away from the disease of racism, is what voters want.
Fight against FETÖ: The AK Party and its leader are the ones who started the fight against FETÖ, which formed a structure within the state for four decades and which no other statesman, institute or politician dared to fight before, and paid the price. This fight will surely continue without interruptions, with determination and courage. The people are also fully supportive of this fight and have given the AK Party the message, “continue to be brave, we are behind you,” once more. Voters have also emphasized on “more sensitivity,” and warned for justice. Among this election’s clearest messages is that unjust treatment should not be a by-product of the fight against FETÖ, injustices should be eliminated, the innocent should not suffer because of the guilty and justice should be actualized. In the upcoming period, eradicating the unfair and negative perception formed against the AK Party and justice will be and must be the party’s most important issue.
Decline in Polarization and Tensions: Polarization and tensions in Turkey are produced by the opposition. The AK Party is a party that can distance the opposition away from polarizing and tension creating politics. Voters have shown their disapproval of the tone and style of politics as a message. Furthermore, it is surely not health for both the ruling party and opposition wing to evaluate each election evening as “a matter of life and death.” The party capable of reading this message correctly and demonstrating its own politics, tone and style as an example to all political groups is the AK Party.
Competence: Perhaps one of the elections’ most significant messages is showing greater sensitivity to merit in appointments. The AK Party will, without a doubt, evaluate this message too and increase its sensitivity in this regard in the upcoming period.
Undoubtedly, the most comprehensive analysis of Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections will be conducted by the AK Party’s relevant boards. The above matters are only the obvious. The AK Party is going to continue to be Turkey’s hope and bolster its votes again by maintaining its courage, determination, and reform ability, as well as by lending an ear to the voters’ warnings.