As conservatism continues to gain strength...

In discussions regarding the AK Party's loss of votes in the local elections, the call for a "return to factory settings" is becoming increasingly common. In fact, this call has been voiced before. Expressions like "founding philosophy" have also come up alongside these calls. However, because these calls have been brought up by different circles, not much attention has been paid to whether everyone is speaking with the same understanding. Thus, there seems to be a consensus on what is meant by factory settings and founding philosophy. It's as if those discussing the issue are speaking based on the assumption of such a consensus. It would probably be misleading to think that the circles advocating for a return have reached a common understanding, especially in a political debate where the question of how meaningful such an acceptance would be is not asked. Moreover, over the past twenty years, significant changes have occurred both globally and in Türkiye, and all approaches that ignore these changes have no common ground other than the "conservative" denominator. This necessitates a reconsideration of the concept of "conservative".

Although it is a frequently used term, the framework of conservatism in terms of politics and ideology has not been clearly defined. If conservatism demonstrates a certain form of thinking and behavior politically and ideologically, it should be made explicit. Similarly, regarding the founding period of the AK Party, there should have been a certain form of thinking and behavior adopted by different circles. However, it is quite clear that those advocating for a return to factory settings do not indicate an equally clear form of thinking and behavior. Some blend conservatism and radicalism, while others focus on a specific type of person. Both approaches overlook the changes of the past twenty years.

We can see the changes we are trying to underline in conservative modes of thinking. Similarly, individuals and groups considered conservative have also undergone significant changes. A research on conservatism in the last twenty years will reveal a dizzying pace of change. Perhaps the most surprising thing is the change itself. By dizzying change, we do not mean the juxtaposition of jihadist and contractor. I cannot say that I adopt an approach focused on morals and behavior. Approaches focused on behavior push ideas into the background. It is also clear that such an approach would not be explanatory.

So, where should we look for the real change that needs to be emphasized? For example, is the real change of this period the realization that there is no agreed-upon conservative type? Likewise, when we identify the impact of the inconsistency between dizzying change and the conservative concept on political preferences, do the calls for a return to factory settings lose their meaning? In this context, what is meant by returning to factory settings? If such an impact is inevitable, is it possible to associate the change that has occurred with it?

Questions are further increased by the failure to reveal the relationship between conservatism and Islamism and political Islam. When defining the twenty-year period of the AK Party, it must be accepted from the outset that the concept of conservatism will not be inclusive. Indeed, the majority of groups embracing conservatism are quite distant from the concepts of Islamism and political Islam. Moreover, it is a fact that conservative individuals and groups have turned this distant stance into an ideological attitude. While it may be unfair to say that the concepts of Islamism and political Islam have fallen out of the agenda, it is quite clear that conservatism has gained a much broader space in comparison. Of course, the concept of Islamism was not embraced by conservative groups in the past. However, today, with the dominance of conservative groups, the concept of Islamism has been pushed further into the background. It is necessary to look for the real impact of change in ideological identities.

We can see the reflection of the change in ideological identities in the local elections. In an opposition where the Karar newspaper has laid its ideological foundations, the Yeniden Refah Party has risen. We probably cannot think that these circles have reached a consensus on the meaning of conservatism. It is quite clear that a vague conservatism has gained superiority in all areas.

#AK Party
1 month ago
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