It has been 15 years since the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) was first founded. The AK Party was founded in the dark days of Feb. 28, the period which the army arrogantly said would continue for a thousand years. In such dark days, this party chose a light bulb as its symbol of representation, hoping it would light up the days to come. The members of the party were the veterans of two parties that were closed down consecutively; yet they never lost hope, never became stubborn, but instead just stood upright with integrity, waiting to save the country and its people from poverty and restrictions. Although President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the party founder (coming from two closed parties) and he was prohibited from politics for a while, people believed that he and his party could change things. Thus, they supported this newly founded party. The current government was taking the country from crisis to crisis (with the benevolence of Feb. 28) when the AK Party was founded. Therefore, the moment the AK Party was established, it became the hope of the country as it was an alternative to all the political parties. Fifteen months later, it raked up the votes of the people and garnered the right to found the new government.
I cannot believe how all those years went by.
The first 15 months experienced a joint government with the opposition, but then the AK Party was successful enough to establish single party governments with the number of votes it received. Whatever changed in the past 15 years is due to the hard work of the AK Party, but the AK Party has been the direct target of all the attacks that have happened in the last 15 years. All the revolutionary changes in Turkey have been made by the AK Party. The AK Party has become Turkey's name. It had offered to make revolutionary changes while choosing its name and it successfully made these revolutions. Turkic people in past ages would stand upright after they achieved something, but the AK Party chose to do this from the start (while naming itself), and in the last 15 years has deserved to be praised for its success. It chose the name Justice and Development for a reason, and fully equipped itself before starting this journey. It literally changed the sociological structure of the country and the people. It changed the major differences in class structures and allowed rotation between these classes. It increased the national income fourfold. It saved Turkey from its debts to the IMF and even brought Turkey to such a position that it could loan money to the IMF. The living standards of the people increased immensely. It really deserved the name “development.” Economic revolutions were not the only things Turkey saw during this period. Military domination was subdued, the standard of freedom of speech and human rights were improved. Economic and political justice was improved too during this period. Therefore, with all the revolutionary changes it made, “justice” was also a deserved name for the AK Party.
Clearly it was the people who would decide if it deserved this or not. The AK Party continued this journey by further increasing its votes in each election in a way never before seen in Turkey or the world for that matter. In an environment in which it is a miracle for parties to even hold on to the same vote rate, the AK Party increased its votes in the 12 elections it went through with the support of the people. This obviously meant that the people had rated its “justice” and “development.” The AK Party always remained in the political sphere without intruding into avenues it was not supposed too. It never resorted to violence or anything outside politics even when its party went through a period in which it faced closing down. This then increased its power in the political sphere. As the party steadily grew, its oppositions started to seek other avenues, since they realized it could not be suppressed through politics. The AK Party experienced many coup attempts. These attempts sometimes pushed the country to crisis.
One of the most important attributes of the party was that even when it was at the verge of a crisis it did not allow anyone to suppress the government or the people. Instead it turned these crises into opportunities to make new reforms and new expansions. While every crisis is known with its bad men, a crisis also gives rise to heroes. When we look back to the last 15 years, we can see many evil characters that attempted to stir our growing government. On the other hand, Erdoğan overcame all crises and became the hero. The hero people who walked with him during his journey became the true heroes of this country on the night of July 15, as they displayed an act of integrity while battling to save their country.
The size of the evil obviously increases the size and charism of the hero. When you look into how the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) infiltrated all institutions of the government and military and see the magnitude of their hatred, you then understand the effort and courage a leader would have to expend to overcome such evil. The AK Party, together with its leader and supporters, has crowned all its revolutions with this victory.