Once upon a time there was the “third path.” This was the pursuit for a political option other than Capitalism and Communism. The third path becomes important in a different way for us. And that is the politics the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) constitutes for the Muslim world. The AK Party is now becoming a player with its political style, for the political change in the Muslim world. This is one of the most important meanings of the latest election victory.
The post-Ottoman nation-states, their positivist elite spokesmen and the politics they produce have now come to a point of crisis, depression and deadlock. Based on oppression, Westernism and self-denial, these politics have now crashed. These politics produce new problems, instead of solving previous ones. They cannot found new paradigms that can stand up against the world's new realities. Thus, from Morocco to Indonesia, we are in great depression, crisis and conflict. Its greatest and most concrete field of application is Syria and Iraq. Genocides, mass migration and terrorism emerge from this region.
The depression and crisis politics in Islamic societies are answered in two ways: Dictatorship and riot. These are the options offered to the societies in our region. Social movements, the intellectuals, communities and all Muslims, are either forced to obey dictatorship, or are pushed to join a riot movement against it. An option other than these doesn't seem to exist. This has become clearer after the Arab Spring. The U.S., Europe and Russia have supported this dualist politics. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi's reply to the Ikhwan, who tried to overcome this dualism with its democracy option, was a coup. They chose to support Bashar Assad in Syria. Two politics that are based on dictatorship and riot affect all Muslim societies today. The youth, intellectuals and the public turn toward politics because of this. They are doomed to live with this psychology. Or, for those who are in between, they find the solution in migration. They leave behind their homes, societies and lands and take to the roads. They take the risk of death, mafia and living in sheds.
The AK Party is the third path, seeking to overcome this two-option politics. It has been so since the day it was founded. It brings Islam to the agenda with a third political option, without resorting to dictatorship and riot. This is presenting Islam's political representation with democracy. It means for Muslim societies, movements and groups to do politics with democracy. Thus, Islam entering politics is done through democracy. This political method, calls groups that have been marginalized, rejected and politically convicted, to walk for democracy, not for dictatorship and riot. It has offered Islamists, Naqshbandis, followers of the Nur Movement and members of the National Vision Movement (MGH) the opportunity to become oppositions and the party in power through democracy. The AK Party government has not only inspired Turkey but also neighboring countries with its third path identity. It has set a concrete example for Islamic movements to do politics with democracy instead of violence. It has encouraged Islamic movements and the conservatives to take up roles like opposition, power and make reforms via democracy. It has offered Islamic societies a new political paradigm. This is one of the most important factors of why the Islamic world supports Erdoğan so sincerely. People want to live more independently in the new consumption, media, and the global roaming world. They are after expressing their Muslim identities more freely. Neither dictators, nor positivist Western elites, or the parties representing them, can fulfill this need. The AK Party's reformist, free market supporter, multicultural society understanding supports this. Chaos, conflicts, deaths and mass migrations caused from the rivalry between dictatorships and riot, can be surmountable through the AK Party's third path. The AK Party's victory has reminded Islamic societies of the democracy option, and has given them hope.
Neither dictatorship, nor riot! The third path: Democracy at peace with Islam.